Clenching Teeth: c-PTSD or Anxiety?

enough

MyPTSD Pro
Mouth guards cause you to clench harder? I totally get that.
I am a toolmaker, people who don’t get it ask me to put foam rubber handles on a hand tool so they don’t get so tired when they use it. They don’t understand that as they use the tool they will subconsciously squeeze harder and harder because it feels loose in their hands. A few days max and I can usually get them back to at least a hard rubber handle or a knurled aluminum one. After a few days building muscle on the foam grip, they feel like Superman with a solid grip again. But you can’t convince anyone until they experience it.
I am thinking the mouth guards are much the same.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
Manual release - massage - can be very helpful, for managing jaw tension. It doesn't do anything to stop grinding, but it does help the jaw get 'reset' so it's not being more and more compressed. It's not especially fancy, you just use your fingers to find the knots and then work at them. Don't force anything to go where it's not supposed to go.

Most useful if done twice a day, sometime in the morning and sometime in the evening.
 

WonderWriter

Confident
Manual release - massage - can be very helpful, for managing jaw tension. It doesn't do anything to stop grinding, but it does help the jaw get 'reset' so it's not being more and more compressed. It's not especially fancy, you just use your fingers to find the knots and then work at them. Don't force anything to go where it's not supposed to go.

Most useful if done twice a day, sometime in the morning and sometime in the evening.
Ooh, I hadn’t thought of that. I’ll give it a try 😊
 

Chitoshi

MyPTSD Pro
A mouth guard that a dentist makes, 'snaps' on your teeth so it's very secure laying on top of the teeth. One that you buy over the counter and mold fo your mouth will defineatly be 'loose' as you say.
Agree. @enough My mouth guard snaps to my top teeth. I used to have one that was thicker on my back teeth and THAT one made me clench harder and chew on it. This new one has more "bulk" where my front teeth are and it has helped a lot for me. YMMV though.
 

Changing4Best

MyPTSD Pro
I used to clench my teeth while awake and maybe while I slept too, but seem to have quit doing so since a major meds overhaul I had a couple years ago. I'm glad that I don't seem to do it anymore.
 

WonderWriter

Confident
February 8, 2021

I was at my mom’s yesterday, and we were talking about some of the friends I had in high school. She made this comment, “You were a pawn, and they used you.” I replied with, “I’ve been a pawn my entire life.” She quickly changed the subject, and I immediately noticed myself clenching really hard!
 

triptych

Learning
I think clenching generally makes me less stressed when my anxiety is high... definitely a coping mechanism for me. I imagine if there is literally nowhere else for your tension to go, whether physically or in your voice then it ends up in your jaw. I’d love to know if anyone has other thoughts on why its such a common thing though?

I would second the jaw massages— reading a couple of articles and seeing what sticks was helpful for me.
 

WonderWriter

Confident
I think clenching generally makes me less stressed when my anxiety is high... definitely a coping mechanism for me. I imagine if there is literally nowhere else for your tension to go, whether physically or in your voice then it ends up in your jaw. I’d love to know if anyone has other thoughts on why its such a common thing though?

I would second the jaw massages— reading a couple of articles and seeing what sticks was helpful for me.
I notice I do it when I’m having an emotional flashback and when I get home. Today, I know I’ll be clenching when I get home b/c I didn’t wake up to drive my husband to work. I’ll surely be punished in some way.
 
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