From The Beauty Closet

Tooth Terror

1 year ago by

Tooth Terror

I consider myself (and my parents) very fortunate I never needed braces. I have also never had a cavity. I’ve always taken really good care of my teeth but mostly because the dentist freaks me out and I gag every time they make me take x-rays. The sooner I can get in and out, the better!

I do however, have a very small jaw and due my anxious nature, I’ve developed a super cute problem of clenching my jaw and grinding my teeth when I sleep. Talk about the opposite of sexy. It’s definitely causing my teeth to shift and my dentist told me it will also lead to scary problems I can’t even type out for fear of causing them to manifest.

Naturally, this has led me to be hyper aware of the teeth of every person I encounter. I can’t bring myself to wear a mouth guard but I’m also terrified of having my teeth falling out or any other painful dental problem. I already dream about my teeth falling out enough, I can’t take it in real life!! I’ve had people tell me to consciously relax every muscle in my body while trying to fall asleep and this should help with tension at night – and I could always just succumb to the mouth guard.

Do you guys have any tips or experience with mouth-related issues?? I’m getting desperate over here.

35 comments

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  • WEAR THE MOUTH GUARD!

    I went through the same thing about a year ago– my dentist said there was a dramatic shift in how much I was grinding my teeth due to stress , so I succumbed to his terrifying warnings and got a mouth guard. It has changed.my.life.

    I no longer get headaches, my jaw is no longer stressed, and I sleep like a baby. Just do it!

  • I am a chronic clincher/grinder. Get a mouth guard made by the dentist (not from the pharmacy)–it will change your life. I sleep easier (no more worrying about grinding) and sounder. You’ll also breathe better–no more mouth breathing, which dries the mouth and leads to cavities. It takes some getting used to but I am so happy with it. I have the upper kind that looks like a football guard piece–its clear. Not sexy but worth it.

  • Get the mouth guard! Or if you’re teeth have shifted enough that you now need invisalign, once you’re done with the retainers that move your teeth, you’ll be given a retainer that you wear at night for the rest of your life. Problem solved. (Wearing braces as an adult isn’t as permanent as when you wear them as a kid, thus the invisalign retainers are a fact of life once you’ve worn them to move your teeth.) I wear one every night and it has solved my teeth grinding issues as well as keeps them all neatly in place. :-)

  • I don’t have this problem myself but know someone who has.
    The suggestions are exactly the same as above: the mouth guard from the dentist made exactly for your teeth. Grinding your teeth will wear out your teeth which is very bad for them in the long run. :(

    Unfortunately I don’t know an easier solution. :(

    https://sofaundermapletree.wordpress.com

  • I thought I just had the “vegetarian” teeth that are very blunt. But no, the dentist told me that I apparently grind them at night and the damage is already done. They could break if I continued. Why couldn’t he tell me that years ago, not only now when I asked?! Now I sleep with a karate-guard in my mouth. Having one made at the dentist is just too damn expensive. I still grind, I sometimes wake up with pressure in my jaw, but at least my teeth aren’t getting worse.

  • +1 for GET THE MOUTH GUARD. Seriously. If you get one from the dentist they are thin and fairly unobtrusive. It takes a few nights to get used to it, but it is worth it. I didn’t know I was a grinder/clencher until I went to a new dentist and she showed me the wear spots on my teeth. I sleep way better now, I wish a dentist had found the issue years ago! I periodically get lazy about wearing it and then end up regretting it when I have terrible jaw pain and tooth sensitivity. The added bonus is that there is something about using it that makes me take more time with my nightly routine, so I am better about brushing for a full 2 minutes and doing a proper face cleanse.

  • Does anyone have the clear dentist mouthguard with the moulded overhang?

  • Seriously, wear the night guard!!!!! A lesson I relearned for the zillionth (and hopefully final!) time this year after a middle of the night ER trip, steroid injections to my jaw, and 3 months of physical therapy–on top of years of chronic tension headaches and discomfort–due to major clenching and grinding. It effects not just your teeth, but eventually your jaw, neck, shoulders, and posture! My dentist said the upper ones are bad for your front teeth (the scraping when you put it on and off), so if you can, get a lower one (mine goes behind the front teeth so you can’t really see it) made and adjusted by the dentist (like Elisa said, don’t get one from the pharmacy or a lab that doesn’t do in-person adjustments before wearing–those can actually make it worse!) :-)

  • Garance surely told you that your name means “cavities” in French.
    I agree with the others: mouth guard. Also, think about meditation or other things that can help you relax. My dentist says grinding teeth comes from being worried.
    And find a dentist you like. I had one who put headphones on me so I wouldn’t hear the drill. He also offered gas if I was stressed (effects gone immediately). You want to have trust and not be afraid. It’s never a stroll in the park, but it’s like a Pap smear and certain other necessary things that are unpleasant but far less so than the alternatives.

  • Hahaha! I was just thinking, “how ironic…gotta see if anyone else caught her name…”

  • Charlotte October, 4 2016, 4:01 / Reply

    Use the mouth guard! It takes a week or so to get used to but I cannot even go to sleep without it anymore (or it makes me less comfortable). I got mine made at my dentist (it’s a clear one for my bottom teeth). I clenched and it made my gums terrible. Wearing the guard prevented it from getting worse and it also stopped me from pushing my lower front teeth against my front teeth (which unfortunately already show signs). Just make sure to clean the guard every night. I use a gel and a hard tooth brush. I tell my sister (who has the same problems) this every night. It’s worth it.

    Question: Does somebody have tips for how to strengthen my teeth? I worry about this a lot. My teeth are in very good condition, but my front teeth (up and bottom) are slightly more transparent at the tips (sorry English is not my first language).

  • Babouille October, 5 2016, 5:50

    I had the same problem and my dentist told me to use Elmex Gelee. With just one use, it fixed the problem!!

  • Charlotte October, 5 2016, 12:20

    Thank you Babouille! I’m going to order it straight away. I’ve been so worried about my teeth. Happy to hear this worked for you :)

  • 1) Get the night guard. Like you want to wear your teeth down to nubs… I clean mine in a dilute mix of water/hydrogen peroxide. No big deal at all.

    2) Consult with a chiropractor who does cranial/palate adjustments. It might be quackery but it feels good! I don’t go very often (and for other reasons) but my chiro adjusts my skull and palate and I can feel a big release of muscular tension throughout my jaw.

  • Carie,

    The mouth guard sounds like a wise idea, given all the previous comments. But, and I’m sure you’ve already thought of this, it might be a good long-term strategy to figure out how you can overcome the anxiety that brought all of this on.

  • Wear the night guard…seriously…the myriad problems caused by grinding/clenching can really plague you as you age. You’ll get used to it.

  • Garance, I am a dentist in Tampa, Florida . I would love to comment on your concerns because this is a common problem that can be quite serious.
    There are many reasons for clinching and grinding but the first thing to find out is if this is happening during the day or at night. This can be difficult because people that clinch/grind are rarely aware this is occurring. You must start to pay attention to how you posture your jaw when you are stressed especially when you drive. Sometimes your husband or close friends will be able to tell you – yes, you make this face when you are mad or worried. The dentist can show you how you posture your jaw by matching up the wear spots that are complimentary on the top and bottom jaw. The other thing to watch for is habits that can contribute to premature wear such as biting fingernails, cuticles, pencils, ice, etc. The most common is fingernail and cuticle biting.
    If the damage is occurring at night you most likely would not be aware but whoever is sleeping next to you would be. If this is the case a mouthguard is the best solution. As stated above this can be made by your dentist in a way that should be comfortable and effective. It does take about 2-3 weeks to become a habit. I am very careful about diagnosing this because they are not cheap, but once I make this diagnosis I am very certain this will help. I follow-up about a month later and I can tell how effective it is by looking at the wear on the mouthguard. I write monthly blogs on my website doctorsaylor.com . My blog is called thehealthydentist. I will make this the topic for my next blog!

  • Get it- it’s worth it. I have one and wear it semi-regularly. I experience pain in my neck and shoulder on one side of my body when I grind my teeth at night. Now I wear the guard during anxious times (which stops the grinding and pain). Second, I try to listen to what my body is telling me (like Garance- I so intrigued by this idea that your body tells you what it needs!)

  • If the clenching is really painful (sore jaw, headaches, etc) you can always get botox injected into your masseter muscles. It’ll help to relax them, but it’s only a short term fix. You need to get it every few months, although a mouth guard and learning to relax the muscles yourself could help the effects last longer.

  • Hi Carie! I have bruxism (that’s the medical term for clenching your teeths at night) since I was 21 and I’m 37 now and my teeth are perfectly fine thanks to my night mouth guard. Just get one! I can’t tell you how better you are going to sleep, how better is your face / jaw/ ears/ neck going to feel in the morning. It’s going to make your life so much better!!!
    Last month my suitcase got lost in one of my trips and all I could think about was myt mouth guard! I was so stupid to put it in my checked suitcase (I usually carry it with me in my bag when I travel). I had two golden necklaces in that suitcase too but I was worried about my mouth guard. It was the only thing that mattered! So imagine how important it is! I love it so, so, much that I can’t live without it! My face just relaxes when I put it on. Sometimes I even wear it when I work from home because I tend to clench slightly during day time too. Anxious me? Naahhh…
    So, get the mouth guard and don’t worry, your teeth are going to be fine!
    xx,
    E.
    http://www.theslowpace.com

  • Babouille October, 5 2016, 5:52 / Reply

    I have the same problem. My dentist recommended me to take box classes. I had my first class yesterday, I hope it helps!

  • Invisalign as guard, most efficient and comfortable thing out there. Mentally erasing your worries before sleeping helps too, sort of mini-meditation. Youre blessed not to have any serious teeth issues, so I d love to hear for someone that struggles with misaligned teeth or cavities or missing teeth as well!

  • Forget the mouth guard. Figure out the source of your stress and rid yourself of those who no longer serve in your personal happiness. Believe me, more than just your jaw will relax.
    http://brooklynchateau.blogspot.com/2015/06/beauty-reals-icicles-in-amsterdam.html

  • Wearing a mouthguard is great but try to deal with the underlying issues – stress and anxiety.
    The mouthguard is just a band-aid. Try regular massages and ask for extra tlc on your neck, face, scalp and stomach (most people don’t realize how much stress we hold here). Try a relaxing guided meditation before bed, deep breathing and less caffeine. I’ve also treated many clients with acupuncture to reduce the stress in their bodies overall and their jaws in particular. It’s painless, effective and very enjoyable.
    You can do this!

  • Anonymous October, 5 2016, 8:47 / Reply

    Quick question – I got a price from my dentist on a mouth guard and was absolutely shocked to hear it was $800. Is that what these cost? I nearly fainted when I heard that…

  • I think I paid around $200 for mine and it definitely wasn’t partially covered by insurance.

  • Yes, j’ai eu ça. Mon dentiste m’a montré des photos de gens avec les dents limés car ils griçaient des dents.

    Je me suis de suite efforcée d’avoir toujours les machoires non plus serrées, mais toujours ouvertes, la journée et la nuit pendant qq temps ! Et ça a marché !!!

    Plus de pb désormais :))) (et c’est tant mieux parce que je les aime bien mes dents ^_^)

  • Kimberly October, 5 2016, 11:48 / Reply

    I had the same problem. I also had a small jaw, very hard teeth, and a lot of stress. I got a mouth guard, but it was too late to save me from 6 microscopic gum surgeries to graft connective tissue and fix the gum recession that is a result of hard teeth and a small jaw. However, I had a great periodontist and my teeth look perfect today. I also removed the sources of stress, became a lot happier, and stopped grinding my teeth and don’t even need the mouth guard anymore. All is well. I would definitely not worry about it too much…the mouth guard may help, and try some stress reducing activities. Good luck!

  • Charlotte October, 5 2016, 12:22

    Hi Kimberley! I agree that reducing stress is key. Could you tell me more about your experience with gum recession and the surgery?

  • Hello! I have had this problem since i was SIX and I’m 34 this year! :) In between, I wore braces and I have a pronounced jawline because of the bruxism. However, my teeth are almost perfect – no wear n tear, no cavities, because I wear a mouth guard every night. I have had all sorts, the ones from the dentist as well. But I think the most inconspicuous one and the one that works the best for me is actually the Grind-no-more disposable ones that I get from Amazon. They are smaller and more flexible than the ones I had from my dentist. I change them about every 2-3 weeks, brush them every morning. If you need to look sexy in bed, u can pop it in just before u close your eyes! This is just my personal experience, hope it helps!

  • I have had the same problem for years and apparently nothing helps. I don’t know why!!!! I consider myself a very serene person but as soon as I fall asleep my teeth start to suffer. Last thing I have tried is having a few drops of valeriana before sleep. It is supposed to calm you down.

  • I used to grind my teeth so much the shape of my jaw started to change. I was beginning to look like Desperate Dan! Couldn’t get on with mouth guards at all. I thought my molars were doomed. But I took up Pilates and suddenly the grinding just stopped, along with my lower back pain and shoulder tension. Have you investigated any postural issues that might be causing you to clench your jaw?

  • Paola Gomez-Pineiro October, 6 2016, 2:27 / Reply

    Oh my gosh wear it! I also dread using mine, and only do when I know I am stressed out, which thankfully isn’t very often anymore. I used to wake up with a sore jaw because of how much I clenched it overnight, and my dentist told me this could create micro-fissures that could eventually cause teeth to shatter! The problem was definitely my anxiety and stress from my job. So terrifying… My boyfriend on the other hand is now used to wearing his every day, and I find it incredibly adorable :)

  • Charlie Mingus October, 6 2016, 4:29 / Reply

    Deep neck and jaw massage help a lot with teeth grinding. Also consider the graston technique which can be done by a certified chiro (it’s a bit painful but sooooo effective).

  • Priscilla October, 12 2016, 8:29 / Reply

    I 100% agree with the first commenter: use the mouth guard!!!!

    I grind my teeth on my sleep, and my dentist detected it because I had already chipped a tooth! My problem is worsened through stressful periods, and if I don’t wear it, the headaches the next day are terrible! I was lucky we detected it early: my grandfather and father have the same issue and had to get a lot of teeth replaced because of the severe damage, and trust me, it was a PAINFUL visit to the dentist…! So, better to prevent than fix the damage later ;-)

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