As a long-term sufferer of teeth grinding, I dedicated over a year to researching and trying to cure myself. I spent countless hours searching the Internet, consulted three dental health professionals and even sought advice from fellow suffers.
Although I became desperate to rid myself of this curse, I was never prepared to undergo surgery or rely on prescription drugs. Instead, I focused on finding a holistic, cost effective treatment I could perform myself.
What Are the Signs of Teeth Grinding?
Since the majority of this harmful activity was occurring at night, I was mostly unaware for years. I say mostly because my partner occasionally made comments on my annoying nightly noises! Yet, I did not become at all concerned until more severe signs began to emerge.
Once I began to experience worsening jaw pains in the morning and dull headaches that carried through the day, I decided it was time to visit my local dentist. He quickly diagnosed the symptoms as Bruxism, any form of unconscious grinding, gnashing or clenching of the teeth.
Judging by the condition of my teeth, my dentist estimated I had been grinding my teeth for around two years! Whilst on a night-by-night basis it seems harmless, the cumulative effect leads to worsening symptoms. As I continued to read up on Bruxism, I attributed more symptoms to my nightly teeth grinding:
– Sensitive teeth (painful to chew or tolerate hot/cold foods)
– Tongue indentations
– Dulled teeth and worn down enamel
What are the Risks of Bruxism?
My concerns about bruxism and grinding my teeth only emerged once I was feeling the negative impact.
Then Google showed me a frightening statistic, 10% of bruxism suffers can grind dangerously hard until their teeth are reduced to nubs. As a result, they may have to undergo costly reconstructive surgery!
My initial panic was soon reduced once I had consulted another dental health professional. Since the effects and damage are cumulative, it goes unnoticed until the warning signs grow.
If left untreated for years it may result in expensive and painful trips to the dentist chair.
He had a fantastically simple explanation: “Imagine the force you use to crack a walnut, you’re exerting a similar pressure on your teeth nightly.
Small fractures begin to form and tooth enamel slowly wears down causing increasing tooth sensitivity.”
I was also advised that if this detrimental behavior was allowed to continue, harmful side effects could include:
– Receding of the gum line
– Loosening or even losing teeth
– Fractured and cracked teeth
– Destroying protective tooth enamel
– Serve jaw pain and joint disorders
How Common is Teeth Grinding?
I soon discovered I was far from alone in my struggle; Bruxism is a fairly common condition. Since in most cases it happens at nighttime, it can go unnoticed for years until dental problems begin to surface!
My dentist made a bold claim, stating 1 in 3 people suffer from Bruxism yet the severity varies from unnoticeable to serve.
Another health care professionals made a more realistic claim, 10-15% of the population have noticeable symptoms from Bruxism.
Why I Am I Grinding My Teeth?
This was the first question I asked both dental professionals and Google. I knew the key curing teeth grinding would be to treat the cause, not merely the symptoms.
A little luck and genetics also play a large role. If you have an abnormal bite or crooked teeth, bruxism is often encouraged develop.
None of the professionals identified a significantly abnormal bite or jaw. However, I do work in a highly stressful work environment and this was considered a larger contributor to my Bruxism.
Pain Relief for Treating Bruxism
As soon as I felt the painful symptoms of teeth grinding, the first thing I needed was pain relief! With regular headaches and jaw soreness, I needed to alleviate the pain whilst I was treating Bruxism.
I discovered a number of recommended treatments to lessen symptoms, but I had the greatest results with the following:
– Using a warm wet washcloth on my jaw in the mornings
– Massaging my jaw, neck and face to reduce tension every morning
– Focusing on relaxing my jaw with exercises during the day
– Taking muscle relaxants during the earliest stages of serve pain
How to Avoid Aggravating Bruxism
Taking my favorite meal off the menu was a sad moment, but juicy steaks had become a nightmare thanks to bruxism. Even chewing gum only seemed to worsen the problem.
Whilst on the road to recovery I made a number of changes to avoid aggravating the condition. I noticed greatly reduced symptoms when I followed these recommendations from a dental health professional:
– Reduce daily stress
– Increase water intake
– Avoid chewing gum and especially chewy foods
– Relax jaw and mouth periodically during the day
– Avoid alcohol and caffeine
– Wear an occlusal guard nightly
Wearing Occlusal Guards To Prevent Teeth Grinding
Occlusal guards are similar to gum shields seen in sports, except they are specifically designed to prevent teeth grinding at night. They are minimal, less cumbersome and offer increased comfort for use whilst sleeping.
Occlusal guards are by no means a long-term cure for teeth grinding but it will protect you from further damage. It provides immediate relief and prevents any further grinding whilst you are treating yourself.
Occlusal guards are available at a variety of price points, from $30 boil and bite guards you can buy in the shops to professionally fitted $500+ customized guards.
As I discovered, the cheapest occlusal guards do not fit well, deform, discolor and don’t last long! Since I was sleeping with my guard fitted every night, it made sense to invest in a premium product.
I found the Custom Dental Night Guards offered the greatest comfort and closed fit if you’re keen to avoid a $500+ professional procedure. At only $160 with a 1-years guarantee it was a sound investment for comfort and protection it offers.
There is also a cheaper option that offers slightly reduced comfort and shorter longevity.
The Plackers Mouth Guards are a great 3-day disposable option at $55 for 38 guards. If you prefer having a brand new guard every 3 days this is the ideal solution.
The cheapest occlusal guard I can recommend is the Smartguard Elite. It’s only $30 for two guards and a 1 year no grind through guarantee.
Whilst the overall comfort and durability are reduced, many have still had great success. It’s the best low-investment way to try an occlusal guard.
How to Cure Teeth Grinding and Bruxism
Now you’re in the same position I was a little over a year ago, clued up on the causes and risks but desperate for the final answer! Many health professionals encouraged me to undergo expensive medical procedures, but I still wasn’t convinced it was the best solution for me.
The occlusal guard did not cure my teeth grinding, but it did immediately prevent detrimental mouth activity and lessen my symptoms.
The only way to truly cure yourself is by using a combination of methods to relieve and reduce the condition.
Whilst the duration is highly individual, with the right guidance you can certainly expect to ditch your occlusal guard within a year!
The most comprehensive guide I discovered was TMJ No More. This 3-step holistic approach lays out exercises and treatments that can be easily adopted into everyday life. This was a final crucial resource for gaining freedom from teeth grinding.
I wholeheartedly recommend TMJ No More as the answer, especially for those interested in a natural remedy. I only wish I discovered it sooner and saved myself a lot of time researching!
I wish the best of luck to all readers on their journey to cure teeth grinding. There is hope; many others and I have beaten it. Wear an occlusal guard and follow TMJ No More to the letter, your jaw will thank you for it!