Berkeley Parents Network >
Advice about Health >
I have been clenching my jaw while I sleep and I wake up with my teeth
and jaw hurting. I wear a night guard for grinding and I have
recently been going for cranial sacral sessions, but the effect only
lasts a few days. Now I am wondering if hypno-therapy would be
useful. Any ideas? Any referrals for a good hypno therapist in the
Afraid of cracking all my teeth
I found it useful to stop sleeping on my tummy, though I hated
giving up that sleep position. Once I learned to sleep on my side
or on my back, the jaw clenching subsided. My husband, also
afflicted with this involuntary habit, got some help from
sleeping wired up with a bio-feedback device. After a while, he
abandoned it when my arm got entangled in his wires, waking him
as the machine's beeps went off the chart.
I recommend Greg Harper. He is a hypnotherapist who also has
other tools in his kit, like EFT. He's a total sweetie.
I recommend you see Dr. Nathan Becker in San Francisco. I
understand he has treated many ''hard to treat'' cases of
hypothyroidism. I know two people whose symptoms were out of
control, and thankfully found great relief thanks to him.
I am a dentist and I used Hypno Therapy for childbirth and really thought it
I don't know someone who specializes in that for jaw clenching but I am sure you
can find someone who is willing to work with you on this. There are some great
guided imagery CDs on the internet, too. The reason for my posting is that I wanted
to share with you things that work for my patients: teeth shouldn't touch during
day unless you are chewing or swallowing. Try to go through the day noticing how
much tension builds in your jaw and releasing it. If you chew gum or have any other
habit that has you chewing(nail/cheek biting etc) try to stop. Make sure your neck
supported while you sleep. There are muscle relaxants that help but the thing that
works the best is ICE. Using ice (not frozen vegetables but an ice pack that
maintains cold) for no less than 20 minutes right before bedtime shuts down the
muscle of closing (the masseter muscle). You mention that you have a nightguard. If
it is a soft pliable nightguard it might be making things worse. It can become a
''chew toy'' for some people and you would be better off in a hard splint. Hope
I clench my jaw at night (and might grind, don't know) and would
REALLY like to stop. I have a night guard from my dentist which
helps with the pain and hopefully minimizes negative effects on
my teeth and gums. I tend to clench more/harder when I'm
stressed. I want to get at the problem (ie. stress, not
relaxing, etc), not the symptom (ie clenching my teeth). What
can I do to stop? I'd be interested to hear if anyone has
experience with hypnotherapy, acupuncture or other therapies.
Saying positive affirmations can be very helpful, for example,
''My jaw is relaxed'', ''I am relaxed and peaceful.'' Saying them
at the beginning of your day is helpful and if you notice
yourself grinding, take a moment, center yourself and say the
affirmation. Just by saying it in the morning and at night
before going to bed is beneficial. You generally don't have to
give it any more thought than that. I use affirmations to relax
my jaw and it has helped greatly. You can do it! :-)
I wanted to know if anyone else has experienced swollen glands
in the neck as a result of stress induced jaw clenching. My
life became quite stressful last year when my youngest child
was born and suffered a stroke 3 days later. She is one year
old now and perfectly fine, thank God, but I am still dealing
with facial pain and swollen gland issues that I noticed when
she was about 4 months old. At this time I had a filling put
in on the right side and soon after noticed the swollen gland
and face pain. I believe part of the pain is from stress on
the joint from the procedure and having to hold my mouth open,
but I still have at least one slightly swollen gland in my neck
on that side eight months later. I do notice that I hold that
side of my face tight and have to remind myself to let it go.
I sometimes wake up with pain in my ear on that side and pain
in the gland right under it. I am willing to accept the idea
of TMJ and clenching but am unsure about the persitently
swollen gland in my neck. I wanted to know if anyone else had
these problems as well.
I think the swollen glands are more likely because of effects
the stress is having on your immune system, which is way more
common. I'm a cronic teeth clencher/grinder and have never had
the sort of issue you're describing. I can't recommend highly
enough that you get fitted for a mouth guard to wear at night
(some times when I get really bad I even wear it for a bit in
the day). It has done wonders for me - no more headaches from
the grinding, and my teeth aren't showing the same wear and
My husband is a dentist and read your post. He suggested you
would be a good candidate for a nightguard. I have teeth
clenching issues also, and I must admit, when I wear my
nightguard for a few nights (I'm supposed to wear it every
night!), my neck ache relaxes and my jaw feels much better.
I clench my teeth while I sleep, and I know this is bad! My
dentist has recommended getting a night guard, which I might do,
but I'm wondering if anyone has any experience getting
themselves to stop doing this? Has anyone tried acupuncture for
this? If so, how long did it last before you started clenching
again? I would be interested to learn any success stories, or
horror stories that might convince me to get the night guard.
I know exactly what you're going through! Several years ago I
was told that I needed a night guard because I was clenching and
my teeth were wearing down. But the hygenist at my dentist's
office gave me a tip: try biting (gently) on your tongue before
you go to sleep. If you start to clench, you wake yourself up.
But honestly, I don't remember ever waking up.. it just stopped
me from clenching! I would generally notice myself start to
clench when I slept on my side (which was most of the time), so
when I'd roll onto my side, I'd put my tongue between my molars
on that side, and go to sleep. It took a little practice, but
I've had no problems - and no need for a night guard - since..
Please keep in mind that any good voice teacher--for either the
speaking or singing voice--will have a broad range of approaches
to handling TMJ and related matters. People who use their
voices professionally have a particular need to release the jaw
and their teachers are usually prepared to deal with even
serious cases. You can stop grinding your teeth and learn to
use your voice better at the same time.
A tip to save you a lot of trouble: the side teeth should never
touch. They may touch without harm when you swallow, but even
then it's not really necessary. In a relaxed mouth, the teeth
hang apart--they do not rest together as you see that set in
your dentist's office doing. Let your teeth rest apart--that
is, you can stop grinding your teeth, use your voice better and
save yourself a face lift all at the same time.
L. T. R.
I clenched my teeth at night very badly (chronically tense jaw,
headaches, molars wearing down, etc). Since I got my night guard
10 years ago, I have experienced almost none of these symptoms.
They work very well in my experience. It is difficult to get
used to wearing it, but once you do, it's easy and routine. They
are expensive, but last forever and it really pays off!
When I was clenching my teeth and grinding them at night, my
dentist taught me to do the following 3 times a day, so that
when you clench your teeth, the body memory will automatically
release them for you when you sleep.
clench your teeth as hard as you can for a slow count of 20.
Then completely loosen and drop your jaw for a second slow count
Repeat 10 times
I think I did it for five days, and the problem disappeared for
I clench my teeth, too, and after reading some other posts here on the list
about it, decided it was caused by stress and I made a conscious effort to stop
being the news junkie I had become. No more news on TV every night before I
go to sleep, for example. And only scanning the newspaper. It seems to have
had a positive effect!
no more pain
this page was last updated: Jan 3, 2009
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network