Help for an Adult That Grinds Teeth

Updated on June 28, 2010
V.M. asks from Conneaut, OH
14 answers

I've already seen several dentists. I'm a little frustrated because I am on my third Opinion at this point, the latest one gave me a special mouth guard that is horrible. I'm ready to look into some other type of treatment, Has anyone gotten relief? I never thought that i had TMJ but this last year, i've had such bad headaches and pain right down the middle of my face, that i know something is wrong. What kind of treatment should I look for and Why do i do this??

edited, I have had regular horseshoe mouth guardsof hard plastic made by the dentisti molded to my teeth that work ok but i wear through them very quickly, this new one( ihave had for a year) is very small and fits on just my front teeth and is angled so my teeth can't make a purchase to grind against. but some how i still do, and it's putting A LOT of pressure on my teeth. During the day, when ever i am concious of it i stop and check my mouth and my teeth are never touching, there is a lot of tension because i am holding my teeth apart, if that makes sense, and my tounge is always pushing on the roof of my mouth.

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answers from Orlando on

I am in the process of getting a mouthgard because I lost mine last year. This time a new dentist recommended one for the top & one for the bottom. He said they won't wear out as fast...

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answers from St. Louis on

I think I would find a different dentist or see if your dentist will make a customized guard for you. I began to grind my teeth in my first pregnancy. After that my dentist made a clear mouth guard for my bottom row with the molding stuff. I have had it for almost two years now and it has helped so much. I think most dentist try to avoid making the mouth guards because they are a little expensive and most insurance companies will not cover them.

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answers from Austin on

I have always ground my teeth. This is just something that I have doen since I was an infant. The mouth guard is going to change your life.. You probably will not need anything else..

Doe your guard not fit well? It should be pretty unobtrusive. Let them know if it does not fit properly..

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answers from Honolulu on

A mouth guard, at least in my case, was specially made and customized for my mouth.. my Dentist took a mold of my mouth. The mouth guard is clear..
My Dentist then fit it in my mouth, while I was wearing it, and made adjustments to it... to fit MY mouth and "bite." ie: shaving down/sanding down certain points of the mouth guard that would touch each other when I close my mouth etc. I wear it at night.
Because my 2 front teeth, hit each other wrongly... so my 'bite' is not perfect. And it was affecting my whole mouth.
It is in fact, like a retainer... because of problems, from when I did have braces as a Tween.
But it guards my teeth and improves my 'bite.'

A good Dentist, will be able to help your TMJ. Not all Dentists can.
My Mom learned that. Some Dentists made her's worse. Her Dentist, also will examine her neck/shoulder muscles, have her do certain movements and mouth movements, to assess her TMJ and mouth structure and facial structure and muscle tension areas etc.
THIS is how TMJ, can be assessed.
It is not just about shaving down teeth, like some Dentists will do.

Or, see another Doctor... maybe you have shoulder or neck pain too? Or something else is wrong... what does your Dentist say?
I would seek a 2nd opinion.

all the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have had teeth grinding issues since I was in high school and have found that if I de-stress before sleeping, it goes much better for me. I have not had to wear my mouthguard since college, BUT before my kids learned to sleep thru the night I would often wake up with headaches and my hubby would tell me that he had heard me grinding my teeth all night. So for me, the anticipation of my kids' night waking caused me much stress. At the point I had to sleep train them since it was really becoming problematic for me.

Try to determine your sources of stress and deal with them as much as you can. It might help you as it has helped me.



answers from Philadelphia on

I have the same kind of small mouth guard you do, I'm on my second one since my dentist noticed some breakage at the base of some of my teeth due to grinding/clenching about 6 years ago. Both of them worked well, I just worked my way through the first one (which is supposedly made of the same material used for motorcycle helmets) and broke it! The second one is working fine, but I am wearing a dent in it as well. My dentist says that these small guards are much better than the horseshoe-shaped ones, since they are made from much stronger materials. I agree with the others, it sounds like yours isn't fitted properly since you're still able to grind your teeth, so you need to get it adjusted or redone ASAP.

It also can't hurt that you try some stress-reducing exercises before bed, too -- whatever works for you, yoga, music, gnawing your way through an apple (I like that one!), just try it and see!



answers from Philadelphia on

I'll preface this by saying I know nothing about the many causes of teeth grinding. But for me personally, I grind my teeth when I'm stressed (emotionally, physically or both).

If your cause is similar to mine, maybe some alternative therapies could help alleviate the cause of the grinding: yoga, accupuncture, accupressure, chripractor, etc?



answers from Erie on

You may want to see an orthodontist to see if there is something permanent that can be done to correct your bite. Often TMJ is caused by grinding but also due to misalignment problems. If everything is aligned properly, then I suggest having the mouthguard re-fitted. It should fit very snugly but should not be uncomfortable.

The one that I use in the daytime is small and unobtrusive (but not on my front teeth, so it sounds like a different design). I still use a hard plastic horseshoe style at night, when the grinding/clenching is worse. By switching between the two, my teeth get a break from each style.

My dad is a dentist and he's never mentioned anyone chewing through the hard plastic style, so I wonder if there is a difference in quality/thickness. I know the style he recommends (for nights only) is very hard and very thick, so I can't imagine anyone biting through it. Perhaps you can ask more questions of your current dentist?



answers from Chico on

I have a "hard-soft" night guard that is much more comfortable than the soft one I used to have (The old one was horse-shoe shaped just soft and I ground holes into it)- both were custom made by my dentist. I also grind less when I am well rested and less stressed out.



answers from Philadelphia on

I have major teeth grinding issues and I have for years. I use the horseshoe-shapped mouth guard, but mine is made of hard plastic. I am on my 3rd one since high school. I do grind through them, but it takes a few years. I've had this one for about 2 years now. This most recent one was fitted by my dentist who specializes in TMJ disorders. She is extremely knowledgeable about TMJ and the treatments. I would recommend finding a TMJ specialist in your area. Unfortunately, nothing has helped me stop grinding my teeth at night, so I need to rely on the guards to prevent me from wearing away my teeth any more than I already have.



answers from Philadelphia on

I have a hard plastic guard that really helps. I saw an oral surgeon who got this for me in philly.


answers from New York on

This is what I have done for years. I eat an apple before I go to bed or chew a piece of gum. This will make your jaw "tired" and you won't grind your teeth. The first time that my husband heard me grind my teeth he freaked out cause he didn't know what it was. I had a dentist tell me about the apple. Make sure that it is hard and you have to work at it. Trust me it works. I eat the apple and then brush my teeth. My husband hasn't heard me grind my teeth in a long time. Good Luck



answers from Seattle on

I know this may sound a little out there, but I used to have the same problem. I have been grinding teeth since I was a teenage and my TMJ at times was so bad, I would wake up unable to speak or eat because my jaw was locked!

When I was pregnant two things happened: the hormones considerable lowered my muscle tone and softened my ligaments, so my jaws stopped locking (unfortunately nothing you can do to help that :) AND I was going for a natural child birth and many of the exercises I did to prepare for that included a conscious relaxation of the facial muscles and the jaw.
Well after having my daughter, my TMJ returned, but I have also kept up with those excercises, especially in high stress situations, when I tend to clamp down, and at night before going to bed. It is A LOT better and I would definitely say worth a try (it's free, too).
Good luck.



answers from Chicago on

Are the horseshoe mouth guards you've made of a soft, chewy, plastic? my first 2 were and I chewed through them in about 8 months. the guard I have now has lasted me about 9 years so far. It is a hard plastic and made at the dentists by a mold of my upper teeth. I have had to take it in twice to have the flat side(the side that i grind against) filed flat again, but it works. If your dentist cannot resolve your problem you may need to see an oral surgeon.

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