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  1. #1
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    Nov 2009
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    Clenching teeth?

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    Several times this year I've woken up at 2am with HORRIBLE throbbing dental pain (upper left). For someone with a high tolerance for pain, I would put this at something like an 8.5 on a scale of 1-10. Each time my dentist came to the conclusion that since there wasn't anything wrong with my teeth that it had to be from sinus pressure.

    I had this happen last night - it actually impacts that entire upper left of my mouth, all teeth, and indeed even touching one of the affected teeth, running my tongue over any of the teeth, or even drawing in a deep breath so that AIR touches that portion of my mouth causes increased pain. If I force myself to lay there and relax my jaw, the pain goes away after about 15 minutes, or at least relents enough that I get back to sleep. One or two of those teeth are typically still sore at breakfast, all signs of pain/discomfort gone by mid-morning and that, is that, until the next time. Thankfully it's only happened two other times this year, and my dentist can't find anything wrong.

    I found myself clenching my jaws yesterday, and even had the though before bed that perhaps this might be the cause of it. Then, lo and behold, it happened last night - though not QUITE as bad as in the past. Only a 6-7 rather than an 8, but bad enough.

    Has anyone experienced this? If you do sometimes clench your jaws, do you have symptoms like this? I've been though a few different types of stress lately so am wondering if this is actually what is going on. My sinuses seem fine... If this is the problem, it actually makes sense that it is only affecting one side - there are differences between the two.

  2. #2
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    Sep 2007
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    Ouch.

    I do tend to brux - there are a lot of contributing factors. Stress is definitely in there, my weird bite is part of it, and a lot of it is also the muscles of the neck that interact with the chewing muscles. I'd be surprised if your neck injury didn't contribute to it. Maybe your dentist can refer you to a massage therapist who works inside the mouth. Or you can poke around the insides of your jaw muscles with your own index finger for trigger points, as my LMT taught me to do. It's pretty painful, but worth it.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    Ouch.

    I do tend to brux - there are a lot of contributing factors. Stress is definitely in there, my weird bite is part of it, and a lot of it is also the muscles of the neck that interact with the chewing muscles. I'd be surprised if your neck injury didn't contribute to it. Maybe your dentist can refer you to a massage therapist who works inside the mouth. Or you can poke around the insides of your jaw muscles with your own index finger for trigger points, as my LMT taught me to do. It's pretty painful, but worth it.
    hmmm, I didn't think about the neck injury. It is true that this never happened before the whiplash injury. My next dental appointment is in early January and I will ask her about this.
    "brux"? I will look that up, and I do have a bad overbite.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
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    I clench. I've had TMJ. What has worked for me is the night guard the dentist made, and more recently, osteopathic treatment was surprisingly effective.
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

  5. #5
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    Nov 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melalvai View Post
    I clench. I've had TMJ. What has worked for me is the night guard the dentist made, and more recently, osteopathic treatment was surprisingly effective.
    hmmmm, my PCP is an osteopath, I will see him in Jan when my flexible spending account kicks in for the new year. My insurance won't cover OMT, but it is very good to know that this was effective. I don't THINK I have TMJ, I don't have any of the common symptoms.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2006
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    Central Indiana
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    I wouldn't be so quick to rule out TMJ (actually TMD is the better term). You do have one of the signs of it--teeth clinching--and you've experienced one of things that can cause it--whiplash.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    northern Virginia
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    Interesting. I posted a long response to this yesterday and it is not showing up here. That's not the first time this has happened recently.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
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  8. #8
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    Nov 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by indysteel View Post
    I wouldn't be so quick to rule out TMJ (actually TMD is the better term). You do have one of the signs of it--teeth clinching--and you've experienced one of things that can cause it--whiplash.
    Hmmmm, frankly I hadn't even considered this. I will look into it, thanks for mentioning this. What I described above may not happen often, but I need a resolution.

  9. #9
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    Nov 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by ny biker View Post
    Interesting. I posted a long response to this yesterday and it is not showing up here. That's not the first time this has happened recently.
    I've also noted this, for some reason it is always the posts that I put the most time into that go walk-about.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,336
    oh boy, do I ever know about clenching... I never thought about whiplash/neck injury as part of a cause, though, because my C1 is twisted due to what I believe to be a pretty nasty forceps delivery.

    I've just spent close to $3000 on dental work in the past month; in the last 20 years I've probably spent over $10000 due to my excessive clenching (and yes, this is with a super fancy "balanced" nightguard that cost a grand and was supposed to help with headaches and clenching but nada).

    My dentist suggest botox injections to relax my jaw muscles and the insurance company actually approved it, but it's only a temporary fix and not being able to chew normally scared me. It's temporary but it's still a few months if I don't like it.

    My friend who is a dentist says counseling helps, that it's something from the subconscious. I resisted this, but the neck injury theory does sound plausible. I've done cranial sacral massage/osteopathy recently due to the excessive dental work I'm going through right now; she said my jaws were completely locked up and I was getting horrifying headaches that no pain medication helped.

    Sorry this is more of my own woes and rant rather than helpful advice. I guess in the end, I'm a total pro at clenching my teeth, but aside from slowing the rate of breaking my teeth I haven't done a whole lot to address it. I'll be curious to find out if you'll come across a treatment that will help.

  11. #11
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    Nov 2009
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    I am finally recovered from the last episode, it seems to take a few days for my muscles to fully relax and for a few days I have to consciously prevent my jaws from clenching. While I am going to see both my dentist and my OD in January about this, before then I am going to be more intentional about a relaxing routine before bed. I already turn off the computer 2 hours before bed and turn off the television 1 hour prior (if it ever got turned on, many evenings it doesn't". I tend to keep busy however, sometimes up until when I go to bed. So, perhaps an enforced time of reading and gentle stretching is called for here. I've already put blackout curtains in my bedroom, and I cover the light on my alarm clock so my room is as dark as possible.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    6,449
    I used to have a big problem with this. It eventually went away. Only took a divorce to reduce my stress.

    January is a long time, perhaps you could try something like Plackers for now?

    And here are more options.
    Last edited by Muirenn; 11-19-2012 at 06:22 AM.
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  13. #13
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    Sep 2007
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    You could try it, they're pretty inexpensive, but my experience as well as most of what I read is that OTC night guards (like dentist made ones that aren't adjusted often enough) actually encourage bruxing and clenching, by throwing your bite off and inserting something "chewy" that responds to movement. The dentist-made ones are hard resin so the muscles "know" to back off when they encounter it.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  14. #14
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    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    You could try it, they're pretty inexpensive, but my experience as well as most of what I read is that OTC night guards (like dentist made ones that aren't adjusted often enough) actually encourage bruxing and clenching, by throwing your bite off and inserting something "chewy" that responds to movement. The dentist-made ones are hard resin so the muscles "know" to back off when they encounter it.
    This. I wouldn't use an OTC product without at least first talking to your dentist.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
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    [QUOTE=OakLeaf;663297]You could try it, they're pretty inexpensive, but my experience as well as most of what I read is that OTC night guards (like dentist made ones that aren't adjusted often enough) actually encourage bruxing and clenching, by throwing your bite off and inserting something "chewy" that responds to movement. The dentist-made ones are hard resin so the muscles "know" to back off when they encounter it.[/QUOTE ]

    Unless they are my muscles, in which case they just bite down harder, dig ridges into the plastic and cause a gap between my lower front teeth.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

 

 

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