Clenched Teeth: A Sign of Stress

Photo by istolethetv on Flickr

Many times throughout the day I find myself clenching my teeth. This use to be an occasional occurrence for me but lately I find myself doing it more and more. So much so that it is starting to hurt my jaw.
It turns out that clenching my teeth is my unconscious response to stress (one of many I’m sure).
The medical profession even has a name for this unconscious response to stress, Bruxism.

Bruxism is when you clench (tightly hold your top and bottom teeth together) or grind (slide your teeth back and forth over each other) your teeth.
One look at today’s news headlines can probably tell you why the frequency of my teeth clenching has increased.

Whenever I realize that I am clenching my teeth I immediately unclench them, take a deep breath, and move my jaw around a little bit. This use to help but these days I am having to do more.

Here are a few of the suggestions I have found on how to relieve the pain of Bruxism:

  • Apply ice or wet heat to sore jaw muscles.
  • Stretch the muscles and joints on each side of the head.
  • Drink plenty of water every day.
  • Massage the muscles of the neck, shoulders, and face.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Relax your face and jaw muscles throughout the day.
  • Try to reduce your daily stress and learn relaxation techniques (easier said than done).

Bruxism can cause permanent damage to the teeth as well as uncomfortable jaw pain, headaches, or ear pain. Stress reduction and anxiety management are suppose to help reduce the condition as is massage therapy with a therapist trained in trigger point therapy.

I opt for solution #2. Do you think I can get my insurance to pay for massage therapy with a therapist trained in trigger point therapy?

Nay, be either.

I guess I will focus on reducing my stress level starting with no more news headlines.

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What do you think?



  1. 3
    wrathoftheperogi says:

    I have recently started experiencing this and meditate to alleviate some of the stress. It really helps. I suggest giving it a shot.

  2. 4
    Sylvia Bortman says:

    I have had some luck just by talking to someone at my insurance company. More then once I talked my insurance into giving me a service not normaly offered! Remember, You never lose by asking, but you always have a lot to gain! Best Wishes To You!


  3. 6

    Your insurance might not pay for it, but you might be covered under an FSA if your doctor will write you a note stating that you need therapeutic massage for a medical condition! [My doc is convinced I have fibromyalgia because I have lots of muscle and joint pain, so I do this. It does help, a bit.]