Were you grinding your teeth last night due to a paper that is due for your teacher tomorrow? Maybe you were up all night because your demanding boss wants your report completed first thing in the morning. The ongoing stress may have you grinding your teeth at night and the mouthguards that you bought a few weeks ago or not as effective as they should be. This article will explore case studies where complementary alternative medicine like clinical hypnotherapy could be used to treat teeth clenching better known as bruxism.
What is Bruxism?
What is bruxism and how are you affected? This is often known as a sleep disorder when a person grinds their teeth in the middle of the night. This can be a combination of disorders which would also include sleep apnea or snoring. There are others that carry this unconscious behavior during the daytime as well which is known as awake bruxism.
Left untreated, a person can continue to have headaches as well as damage their teeth. Many people are unaware of these issues until it is too late, so it is important to be aware of any symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms Associated with Teeth Grinding
Were you grinding your teeth at night so loudly that you kept your sleep partner awake? It never used to happen before, but now it seems that it is easy to chip your teeth. Another symptom would include excessive jaw pain or feeling that you cannot completely close your mouth at times. That headache that seems to never go away may just be the ultimate symptom that would indicate a visit to the doctor.
Multi-pronged Approach to Jaw Clenching Teeth
In this case study, researchers used a combination of available resources for both traditional and complementary medicine. Their objective for this approach was to initially produce any perception of pain as well as improving the motor behavior in the jaw areas.
Lastly, any emotional attachments that were associated with the pain also had to be reduced. This included intervention from the dentist, physiotherapist and addressing the psychological aspects as well.
The dentist was the first line of defense to address the immediate issues of pain. There were additional suggestions to include splints as well as to protect the teeth from any further damage. Next up was the physiotherapist who worked on the craniomandibular and upper cervical areas. Your dentist may also reccomend wearing a night guard.
Together these two professions would not only eliminate the immediate pain but also address any manual exercises that that would address increasing overall mouth movement.
Last Line of Defense
The last line of defense would include a psychologist who would suggest biobehavioral strategies. These strategies include overall therapeutic education, a reinterpretation of what was going on in their lives as well as relaxation techniques to give the person a calm demeanor whenever they felt excessive stress occurring.
Approaching the issue of bruxism from multiple viewpoints was proven to be the most beneficial for the patients in the study. The patients were able to get a better overall understanding of what was happening to them subconsciously that was making them clench their teeth in the first place.
They had a high level of comfort dealing directly with a dentist as well as improving their education in addressing emotional issues that are happening below the surface. The hypnotherapy and other mindfulness relaxation techniques could help in reducing any behaviors where they would have avoided issues in the past.
Stress management was of utmost importance as well and patients could use what they learned during their sessions to have better control over how they feel. Lastly, they learned specific exercises from the physiotherapist that they could practice at home or whenever they would feel their mouth clenching in the future.
Researchers also felt this multi-pronged approach could be used with patients dealing with TMD as well.
Does Hypnosis Work For Teeth Grinding?
A housewife in Mumbai had ongoing issues with her teeth for several months. The pain kept getting increasingly worse over time. Because of this, she could not sleep, and her jaw always felt tight. Even though she was exhibiting several symptoms, she did not know that she was grinding her teeth in the middle of the night.
When she went to the clinical hypnotherapist, she had no history of smoking and she brushed her teeth twice daily. Three months prior, her parents had passed away due to Cancer. She was diagnosed with TMJ and a light version of bruxism. She also mentioned that her dentist had given her some anti-inflammatory prescriptions, but they were not effective. The dentist also had her wear a mouthguard at night which also did not work.
During her first session with a clinical hypnotherapist, this young lady was easily hypnotizable. As a result, she quickly went into trance. While in trance, she mentioned that she was not afraid of dying as her parents had previously done.
She was also aware of her sleep deprivation but did not know the underlying reason. It was discovered that she would have multiple dreams that were frightening in the evening and quickly forgotten upon Awakening.
The frightening dream would reoccur whenever the young lady was in a trance. She was given the suggestion to hold her forefinger whenever she felt fear. After given the suggestion, she was no longer afraid of her dream.
After several weeks, the young Indian lady reported that she was able to sleep peacefully at night. She also no longer grinding her teeth while asleep. Ultimately, the pain that she was experiencing for several months had gone away as well.
Researchers felt that while there is not one size it’s all solution for those dealing with sleep bruxism, everyone would have to get personalized treatment. The recommendation was made to include all three solutions like the case study above which are dental, pharmacological and psychobehavioral to achieve ultimate success.