Clenching or grinding your teeth, especially in your sleep, is called bruxism. It is actually dangerous for your oral health in the long term. Not only do the pressure and friction lead to pain, but you can actually crack teeth and cause bone loss in your jaws. Most people have clenched their teeth in their sleep or when they were not paying attention at least once in their lives, but for a lot of people, this is a chronic condition. It's important that you find ways to stop clenching or grinding your teeth, and you can approach this in a few different ways.
Your immediate steps are to call your dentist to discuss getting a night guard. This is a tray that is configured to your teeth that you wear when you're sleeping; it keeps your jaws and teeth just separate enough so that they don't put pressure on one another while your mouth is closed. You do have to clean the guard daily, but the process is akin to brushing your teeth. You'll have molds made of your teeth first, and then you'll have the guard fitted to ensure it isn't creating irritation when you wear it.
Next, you need to speak to your dentist about special jaw massage techniques you can use before you go to sleep. You can use these if you clench or grind your teeth during the day, too, of course. However, during the day, you can stop yourself from tensing your jaw like that; at night when you're asleep, you're just going to keep clenching or grinding your teeth. The massage techniques for your jaw muscles help relax them more and reduce the amount of tension that leads to clenching or grinding.
In the long term, monitor the condition of the night guard. For some people, the basic guard is too thin, and they can actually grind through the guard in their sleep. If you see this happening to your guard, see your dentist for a replacement and ask about other materials that might be tougher to destroy.
You'll also have to take a very good look at what might be behind all this jaw tension. If you're going through a stressful situation that you can do something about, such as job stress or marital stress where you can either change the situation or find ways to cope with it, do that. That should help reduce or even end the jaw tension if it turns out to be the only cause of the jaw tension. If you just naturally tense your jaw, however, you and your dentist need to find more coping skills to help you (and definitely keep wearing that night guard).
For more information, contact a local dentist.
You may have heard that cavities and oral decay are linked to things like heart disease, and, in fact, your oral health affects your entire body. Hi! My name is Brenda, and I like to look at things holistically. Because of that, I created this blog. I plan for its posts to look at the link between dental issues and other health issues. I hope that the people who visit this blog learn a few tips about oral care as well as gaining a deeper understanding of why it's so important. Healthy smiles indicate a healthy body, and I hope this blog helps you achieve both!