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Jaw clenching / Bruxism

WordLustWordLust Fort Wayne, INRegistered User regular
edited February 2017 in Help / Advice Forum
Hello fronds,

An issue I have always had is a kind of bruxism. Whenever I try to tell people about it, they assume that I mean that I grind my teeth, but I don't actually grind my teeth at all and have never done so even once.

My issue is that I unconsciously clench my jaw extremely tightly. I do it in my sleep (just clenching, no grinding), but I also do it during the day. We're talking clenching my teeth together like I am biting something almost as hard as I can. Every ten or fifteen minutes, I'll suddenly become conscious that I'm doing it and can then consciously relax my jaw, but as soon as I stop thinking about it, it clenches tightly closed again. (This can cause headaches and is bad for the teeth.)

I recently started taking meds for mild anxiety, and I wondered if that would have an effect on the clenching, but it doesn't seem to have affected it at all.

Does anyone else have this issue, and what have you done to deal with it? It usually helps if I suck on hard candy or chew gum, but I can't do that every moment of my existence.

WordLust on


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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I know this is a thing that dentists can address with special retainer like devices. Not sure if you can use it during the day, but I think your dentist might be the best one to ask for that!

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    RiemannLivesRiemannLives Registered User regular
    just fyi, some depression meds (which sometimes are used for anxiety as well) can cause this or make it worse. It's a less likely side effect so not all psychiatrists know about it. I got jaw-clenching pretty bad from venlafaxine.

    Attacked by tweeeeeeees!
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    Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    You can also buy a mouthgard if you just have an oral fixation. I personally have to chew on toothpicks when at work to let off some stress, recently swapped to just having a mouthgard to gnaw on like Steph Curry so it doesn't do as much damage to my mouth

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    taliosfalcontaliosfalcon Registered User regular
    I'm a huge grinder, i'd get the hard prescription mouthguards and wear through them in a matter of months, my dentist ended up injecting my jaw muscles w/ botox, which cuts your bite pressure way down, might be something to look in to. Feels weird for the first couple days but then you don't notice a difference, other than no headaches etc. from grinding for me. Also temporary so you need to have it redone once per year, but i view that as a positive as i wouldn't want to permanently atrophy my jaw =0

    steam xbox - adeptpenguin
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    The SSRI I currently take (escitalopram) actually causes me to clench my jaw a bit, but only noticeably so for an hour or two after I take it.

    I would definitely talk to your dentist if you haven't. They can often diagnose muscle and jaw issues. Not always, but it's worth a check.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    ChanusChanus Harbinger of the Spicy Rooster Apocalypse The Flames of a Thousand Collapsed StarsRegistered User regular
    i sleep with a bite guard, which helps a bit, i used to get really bad jaw pain by my ears, especially if i ate or drank something tart, but not anymore

    as for while i'm awake, i've sort of trained myself over time to keep my tongue in between my teeth when i'm not talking or eating or whatever. it sort of keeps me mindful of it and relaxes my jaw a bit

    it doesn't always work, i still forget to a lot, but it seems to have cut down on the number of times in a day where i just notice my jaw is clamped shut

    cutting down on caffeine and stuff and getting better sleep tends to help me as well

    Allegedly a voice of reason.
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    JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    i use floss picks while awake

    wherever I habitate, you are sure to find a couple of bags of floss picks laying around.

    at night, a mouthguard is nigh mandatory for me. i can barely sleep without it. i had one custom made for about 800ish I think

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    RobonunRobonun It's all fun and games until someone pisses off China Registered User regular
    Seconding the bite guard at night. I also have issues with clenching or tapping during the day, and I have a dumb little mantra I repeat to myself: "Lips together, teeth apart." It helps me be more mindful of what my jaw is doing, which is good because my dentist is getting tired of reattaching crowns that I'm loosening by being a bruxer.

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    ThroThro Registered User regular
    I was apparently crushing the highest bottom tooth in my mouth with my top teeth; not grinding either just biting down hard on it.
    My jaw has also 'clicked' for years, but I only recently found out that was a symptom of clenching my mouth.
    Dentist recommended an upper night guard. Rather than get the expensive dental office one, I found one on amazon that sends you a kit to make a mold of your teeth you send back to them, and then they send you the guard. I think $100 total. Little tight the first few days, fits great now.
    I won't know for sure how well it's working till my next dentist visit though, only been using for a month or two.
    Chanus wrote: »
    i used to get really bad jaw pain by my ears, especially if i ate or drank something tart,
    And now I can add something else to my list of symptoms I have but had no idea were related to clenching. Maybe soon I will be able to enjoy terrible wine.

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    CorporateLogoCorporateLogo The toilet knows how I feelRegistered User regular
    It's been said, but get a bite guard

    I got one for my TMJ, it helped break my clenching habit during the day

    Do not have a cow, mortal.

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