Posted by: zenmamajo | March 7, 2011

Morning Headaches? Tiredness? Sore Jaw? Dreams of Teeth Falling Out?

from kidshealth.org

you may suffer from bruxism. i do. it’s also known as teeth grinding and/or jaw clenching. for years as a child i had recurring dreams of my teeth falling out. it scared me in to brushing more frequently because i was convinced i would lose my teeth before age 30…i woke up several days a week with my jaw clenched and mentally coached myself to “relax my jaw…relaaaax” until i was able to unclench my teeth. some mornings i spat out tiny pieces of ground up teeth (*ugh*). i suffered from frequent headaches and never quite felt rested. never did i think to mention these things to my parents but fortunately when i was 18 my dentist casually commented, “oh, i see you grind your teeth.”

(me) “i do? why do you think that?”
(him) “you’ve worn down some of your molars from grinding.”

i purchased a night guard from him for about $150 which worked *great*. it was the best night guard purchased from a dentist ever.

that night guard eventually wore down, i moved, ordered new night guards from other dentists but they were always bulky and unsightly. they looked just like the mouth guards boxers wear – i found it difficult to close my mouth so 1) i’d drool practically every night (so gross waking up in a pool of drool…) and 2) i’d get dry mouth practically every night. what’s worse is they were made from acrylic and it always left a terrible after taste in my mouth (i kept thinking i was going to develop cancer from using those things!) oh…one dentist convinced me to try this ‘new’ night guard which was a little acrylic piece that fit over my two front teeth. that thing was the *worst* night guard ever in the history of bruxism. imagine a miniature vice grip clamped on your two front teeth then dip your teeth in ice water – that’s how it felt. fortunately i got my money back…

so i reverted to sleeping without a night guard, once again suffering the effects of grinding my teeth each night.

eventually i met a couple folks who shared they suffered from teeth grinding – two of which actually chipped their molars and required dental work.

creeeeepy!!! i’m the woman who asked my dentist to knock me out before pulling my wisdom teeth. i’ve given birth to four children (willingly) without meds (including twins…totally by God’s grace). i’d rather give birth again (to twins even) than to have teeth work done (i am also probably the only person who flosses her own teeth at the dentist’s office…).

anyways – when i heard the chipped molar stories – i started searching for over the counter night guards. i tried several products, but finally came across Dentek.

i think i paid about $30 for a pack of 2 night guards. at first the price seemed steep, but it was pocket change compared to the $150+ dentist office night guards. these were also light weight and easy to adjust.

here is what it looks like new:

here is what mine looks like after some use:

top view

notice the top pieces are pretty thin from my chompin...

so what causes bruxism? no one knows…some say stress, personality type (i’m type-A so this makes sense to me…), medical conditions, who knows. one friend told me he just “trained himself” not to grind and he doesn’t any more. riiiight…more power to him and his tibetan monk skills…maybe i’m weak-minded…all i know is my husband grinds at night and doesn’t realize it until i wake him up (i can’t stand the sound of grinding teeth!!! do that along with nails on the board and i’ll confess anything!)

my sleep is so much sounder when i wear my night guard that i even try to wear them if i take a nap. there are several dental conditions that may require customized night guards so see your dentist if you think you suffer from bruxism. it may relieve migraines, tiredness, and save your teeth!

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Responses

  1. Neat post. And thanks for the tips and pictures of your latest mouth guard! Seems most people I know wear one at least sometimes. Do you really floss your own teeth at the dentist’s office? Too funny!

  2. flossing my own teeth: yes! i’ve always dreaded the hygienist raming a string against my already bludgeoned gums from the ‘tartar scraping’….add that to the fact that i’ve been pregnant and/or nursing for the last SIX years – my gums are in no condition for a beating *hahaha*…fortunately i had a wonderful hygienist a few years ago offer to let me floss and i’ve asked ever since – btw – your blogs are pretty funny too *hahah*

  3. Wow I never thought of flossing my own teeth at the Dentist’s Office. My hygenest could easily get a job at Helga’s House of Pain.

    • i bet they’d welcome your request – i mean – they’ll still get our money, but we’ll do the work! i’m tempted to ask if i can scrape my own tartar too – hahaha

  4. Mission today: find a Dentek night guard! Thanks for the info!

    • i found mine at wal-mart – so i bet other places like target, wal-greens, cvs may carry it – good luck and i hope it works!

  5. Ah, one of the many curses of being Type A. (We should start a support group. It would be the most efficient and organized support group in the history of man.) When I was little, by brother’s bedroom was across the hall, and he always claimed that my grinding would wake him up at night. The thought of my poor teeth undergoing that kind of torture makes me cringe!

    P.S. Thanks for explaining why I have “losing my teeth” nightmares all the time. I will rest easy knowing that they probably aren’t dental prophecies…*whew*

    • TAA (type a’s anonymous) – you hit the nail on the head: we’d be so busy organizing and striving for improved efficiency (because you know…to us types: things can always be better) that we’d have little time ‘supporting one another’ *hahaha*

  6. Yes, sleep bruxism is such an annoying thing to deal with. I clench my teeth rather than grind though. I have to wear a Pro-Form Night guard from my dentist because I was afraid that the ones from Wal-mart would choke me in my sleep because they don’t stay in place. My mouth guard does make my lips stick out, and it’s annoying, but the mouth guard stays in place. I still have those losing my teeth dreams all the time! It’s nice to know that other people have the same problem!! I thought I was just weird since no one I know has this condition.

    • glad you were able to find a night guard from your dentist – :o). i bet more people suffer fr this and just don’t realize it – like my husband and daughter. yup – we’re together in this! (along w/ countless others :o)


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