Clenching and Grinding

I already knew I was grinding a little at night. I’m not sure how long I’ve been doing it but noticed it a few years ago when things were getting quite stressful. The anxiety dreams would come and go and I would wake up nodding my head or grinding.

I clench my teeth a lot on this medication. At the moment it isn’t as bad as it was but I still have the urge to yawn where my jaw tenses, I also noticed the more tired I am the more I want to tense or clench which has been ongoing especially since I’m constantly going through waves of tiredness. For as long as I can remember, when I press on the right side of my cheekbone that connects to the mandible, it’s extremely tender -a bruised feeling as though it’s been knocked. I also have a jaw that opens wider than it should, locking into position. My old dentist had a solution for that – don’t open your mouth so wide 😳 It’s extremely difficult not to click it when I yawn – have you ever tried to suppress a yawn… not easy or satisfying.

For a while now I’ve had facial pain that is similar to that felt with a sinus infection. In fact, at one point I was given antibiotics on numerous occasions until it became so consistent and the headaches increased alongside it that we realised it wasn’t a sinus infection so referred to ENT for review. The consultant stuck a tube up my nose into my sinuses to check their condition, along with a camera attached to a bright red bulb so that my face started to glow like Rudolph. The children were both there and thought it highly amusing and funny. He didn’t find anything other than to say my left cavity was a lot wider than my right which was probably why the cold affects it more but other than that nothing. Whilst there I also had a hearing and pressure check which was all normal for my age.

I was referred for a CT scan of my face to check the sinuses so went to hospital where I was asked to lie on a bed with my head positioned inside a donut ring. It was loud and scary. I wasn’t prepared for what I saw; it was more like an alien contraption with many red lights whizzing round my head which was frightening, especially as I wasn’t told what to expect. I didn’t know if I was allowed to close my eyes but didn’t like that machine so focused on a spot on the wall in front of me instead of the contraption turning my brain to mush. As expected, the results came back normal. I was informed that some people suffer from facial pain for no explained reason and advised to use a special nasal spray to help with the pain. Similar to migraine tablets but in liquid form to get to the sinuses. I’d suffered with hay fever for years and was already on a spray so wasn’t about to add to the load. I ended up stopping all medication, didn’t go back to the doctor as all this information was on the letter I was copied into, I decided to just put up with the pain when it hit.

With the increase in my teeth clenching and grinding on this medication, I was finding my jaw becoming slightly out of line when I woke in the morning, compared to usual. I’d be able to touch a tooth on the top that I usually wouldn’t even notice. With the muscles in my jaw constantly tense I informed my doctor during my medication review who asked me to speak to my dentist to see if a night guard was an option. The other option was to come of my medication but under current circumstances I really didn’t want to do that, I couldn’t go through trialing a different medication at this stage.

I updated my hygienist at my next appointment, of the medical updates and she updated my files for Brad to see, although she said I may still need to mention it as he had a habit of ignoring the notes. I’m lucky if I remember anything at the moment but took a mental note to ask him that afternoon on my return. There is a possibility that the head and neck pain can be caused by TMJ but then it all started after my car accidents and excess stresses in my life, so also a possibility, not! Fibromyalgia can all be caused,or the onset, can follow all the above so who knows (if that’s what I have). Either way it’s not healthy to be grinding or clenching so much so I asked what my options were.

My options were one of two: a soft gel night guard which I may end up chewing instead of grinding but would be quick, cheaper and easier to make. The other option was a hard night guard which required not only a mould of my teeth but to be made, fitted, adjusted, fitted, adjusted, fitted… you get the idea. Not a quick process and at the expense of over 400 squidilie I obviously opted for the cheaper version. He pulled out some paste and made the gloop which smelled really bad, a little like glue. I was asked if I wanted a top or bottom night guard so went with the top. He came over and squeezed the mould with paste into my mouth and squished up onto my teeth. I waited for it to set which wasn’t long but again, to the amusement of both children and satisfaction of our daughter who’d been through similar for her braces. Brad pushed the mould off of my teeth then took it out to be sent off for the guard to be made. . Done!

I go back next week for it to fitted and checked. Fingers crossed all is okay and works 😁



3 thoughts on “Clenching and Grinding

  1. Good luck. Grinding and clenching can be brutal. I’ve been through several night guards, thanks not so much to my grinding but the fact that dogs love them! Expensive doggie chew toys 🙂 SO, be sure to place that sucker up some place high and out of reach if you have pets. I hope you find some relief with the guard.

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