Question by mimi: How to stop teeth clenching!?
While sleeping or even when I’m awake sometimes I find myself clenching my teeth. I wake up and my mouth is hard to open and is sore. Now I have tooth sensitivity to cold water that I never had before. I’m also started to bite my tongue and cheeks. It really sucks and I don’t know how to stop. it all started about a year ago when I was planning my wedding. It was really stressful not only with the planning but not getting along with the mother in law. Well now the wedding is over with and I’m getting along with mother in law fine and its still happening. Any suggestions?
Answer by perculator
teeth clenching, also known as bruxism, can be caused by many factors. Stimulants such as caffeine, certain medications, and recreational drugs frequently cause bruxism. Also, stress and/or anxiety may present physical symptoms such as bruxism.
There are a few things you can do to reduce or stop bruxism.
Firstly, limit your caffeine (or other stimulant) intake, especially in the afternoon or evening. If you are taking medications, make sure that this is not listed as a side effect, even if it is an over the counter medicine. Even some cough/ decongestant medicines have ingredients such pseudo-ephedrine that can cause bruxism. A simple search on WebMD will tell you if your medications may have this side effect.
Second, invest in a mouth guard to use at night. You can find one at your local drug store designed specifically for this. They are even designed to fit comfortably and allow you to breath through your mouth. The mouth guard will provide a cushion between your teeth, reducing dental sensitivity and soreness in your jaw muscles. Often bruxism is a temporary problem, so you might not need to use the mouth guard once your symptoms go away.
Lastly, if your symptoms persist, you should take a visit to your doctor. He or she can provide you with a prescription mouth guard to wear at night. These usually fit much better and are designed specifically for bruxism. There are also a host medications he or she may prescribe to help. Common medications include mild muscle relaxers such as cyclobenzaprine, benzodiazepines such as xanax, valium, ativan, or klonipin, or sedative antihistamines like benadryl (this can be bought OTC). These medications work well to stop bruxism, but most should only be taken short term (~1 week) due to dependance risk and increased tolerance to the medication (meaning more must be taken to achieve the same effect.
Bruxism is fairly common and generally easily treatable and temporary. Hope this helps