Clenching or grinding of the teeth (bruxism) can be a very distressing condition for the sufferer (and it is not much fun for the partner either!) Usually it is an involuntary night time activity which can lead to severe pain, damaged teeth and broken sleep, although some sufferers do clench and grind when awake.
It may be a reaction to stress in your life, but the cause is not always obvious; left untreated it can have a serious detrimental effect on the state of your teeth and lead to extensive dental treatment and big bills.
A trip to the dentist is a good idea – check what damage has already occurred and explore ways of preventing it getting any worse e.g. the dentist may suggest wearing a night time contraption such as an occlusal splint which may give some relief.
Early intervention is advised.
Hypnotherapy may help in addressing the causes of stress; it may also be used to change habits i.e. the therapist may suggest that at the first sign of clenching the client will change position/cough or fall into a deeper state of relaxation, thereby breaking the pattern/habit. Lots of positive reinforcement and the suggestion of deep and uninterrupted sleep will enable the client to feel less stressed so they will be less likely to clench and unlikely to get to the grind stage.
Find a hypnotherapist who makes you feel at ease and be prepared to work with him/her. If the clenching is well established it may take several sessions or it may be resolved quite quickly but further sessions of hypnotherapy for relaxation may be advised.
Above all, don’t let cost be the deciding factor! If you decide to take no action i.e. no hypnotherapy because the cost of hypnotherapy seems expensive and you think that you will wait a few months to see what happens, you will probably find that the bruxism is still there, it has got worse and the damage to your teeth is more extensive (and more expensive to fix).
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About Anne Marie Stagg
Anne Marie is an experienced clinical hypnotherapist based in Hull, East Yorkshire.
As a virtual gastric band practitioner she sees clients for weight management, food/sugar addictions etc but also for a range of other issues including smoking cessation, nail biting, fear of flying and exam performance.