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Jaw clenching - my teeth feel weird



Well-known member
Apr 9, 2014
Hi all, I'm wondering if I could get some advice.

The past few months have been very hectic & stressful for me. And as a result, I'm clenching my jaw more in my sleep but also in the day time. I can feel myself doing it subconsciously in the daytime, and I can stop it. But it's when I do it in my sleep that worries me. I often wake up with pain in my jaw and my jaw and a number of my teeth on my left hand side of my mouth feel weird. They feel sort of like bruised in a way. It worries me, I have to usually take some Ibuprofen or Paracetamol to help get the discomfort to fade. During the day, the feeling does pass. I know it's caused by stress and reducing my stress would help a lot, but can anything be done to help protect my teeth, I'm worried I'm going to chip or crack a tooth. It's becoming more and more frequent that my jaw is hurting when I wake up on a morning.

I was due to have a check up with my dentist next month but I don't know if it's still going ahead or if it's going to be cancelled yet. Would it be wise to email them for some advice? I really don't want to have to go unless necessary. Or can I wait a few more weeks until my appointment and ask them then?
A night guard is probably what they will recommend. I have one for the same reason. I clench my teeth at night.
If they make you one, it will take about 3 weeks. You can always get an over the counter one for a temporary solution. They make the soft rubbery ones, or hard plastic ones. They are the heat and mold kind.
Would it be wise to email them for some advice? I really don't want to have to go unless necessary. Or can I wait a few more weeks until my appointment and ask them then?

Hi frostgirl,

this is entirely up to you and the amount of distress and worry this is causing you may be an aspect to look at. Your dental team would surely be happy to help you with this. I was wondering whether your reluctance to get in touch is more because you do not want to be a bother or more because of your dental fear?
Partly because I don't want to be a bother, party because I'm nervous. I know that's what they're there for but I am not in an unbearable amount of pain, and I would feel like such a big bother if I asked for some advice. I know I'm probably over worrying about it. I might try and write an email and send it to see what they suggest.
I can totally relate to this and remember how hard it used to be to get in touch with my practice. Again, this is the balance between how badly does this bother you and how distressing would it be to get in touch and there is no right or wrong to it. Sending you a virtual hug, you got this either way.
I too can totally relate to that feeling like "how bad is it really, and do I need to bother them with a question" its hard... hard ot reach out with questions.. hope you can find an answer somehow soon. I know too email is always easier for me, though my dental office is not always the best at email followup.. they are happy to answer any and every question in person or on the phone as much as they can
Hi frostgirl,

Definitely worth sending them an email. Once they know the story they can plan more effectively and predictably for your appointment. They may also point you in the direction of someone with an interest in this area for example. The more info we have prior to an appointment the better so an email can only help.

In the meantime, keep doing what you’re doing to limit any day clenching/ grinding. Also aim to limit the workload of the jaw/ muscles/ teeth ie avoid hard or chewy foods, avoid gum, suppress yawns by putting your hand under your chin, avoiding opening widely to bite in to rolls etc.
Applying heat and then massaging the area can often help.

As you mentioned, stresses can play a significant role in both the amount of clenching/ grinding and, believe it or not, also how the brain processes/ perceives pain. I know it’s easier said than done but if you can take control and do something to reduce that even a little it may help things to settle/ heal a bit.

I find a helpful thing for my patients is to pencil aside some scheduled ‘Me time’ for relaxation. This may be yoga, meditation/ mindfulness, reading, walking in nature for example. Allowing the body and the stresses to dissipate even temporarily can only help.

I agree that a splint for nightwear is probably going to be helpful. With jaw pain like this, there are many factors that can contribute so I find that the more rounded the approach, the more chance of success. Many find that once things begin to settle, it begins a process of things settling more and more. It can reverse the cycle that has resulted in this current situation.

I wish you all the best and hope things begin to improve soon.