Bruxism, better known as teeth grinding or clenching, can permanently damage not only your teeth but affect jaws joints or cause earache, headaches and other health problems.
It can be brought about by a single issue or by combination of different factors.
Whether or not hypnotherapy can help depends upon which issues are involved. In other words, whether the cause or causes are physical – when hypnotherapy is probably not appropriate – or emotional or psychological, when it may well be helpful. It is what dentists and orthodentists call an oral parafunctional habit
Emotional/psychological factors are quite frequently the underlying reasons someone grinds or clenches their teeth. For bruxism is often a stress symptom or even an indication of internalised anger. In such cases hypnotherapy can often provide a highly effective response to the problem by training the unconscious mind to relax rather than tense the jaw muscle.
Other causes of teeth grinding where hypnotherapy can help include when someone has a deep but possibly unconscious feeling of frustration; feelings of anxiety or severe stress.
Bruxism may also indicate highly competitive, aggressive characteristics or a hyperactive personality.
So it is important to identify the source of the problem; those factors which have cause feelings of stress, anxiety or resentment or anger
The potential for hypnotherapy to help is confirmed by the United Kingdom's Bruxism Association which says on its website: "Hypnosis has long been under review and some bruxists have found profound relief from problems related to sleep bruxism.
"One study reviewed the long-terms effects of hypnosis and a positive outcome was still applicable even after 36 months. This treatment has promise, and for some it may be successful."
Medical and dental studies which have reported on the use of hypnotherapy for bruxism can be found by clicking es please look at the research papers which are listed elsewhere on this website.
(See the link below)
Anyone who finds themselves grinding their teeth or suspects they are doing so while asleep should consult their dentist for a proper diagnosis.
In rare cases bruxism can be a reaction to certain medication such as antidepressants and other causes can be alcohol, tobacco high levels of caffeine and recreational drugs.
In children teeth grinding may be due to physical factors such as the way teeth or jaws have grown or it can be a response to another pain.
In many cases bruxism is linked to conditions known as temporomandibular disorders (helpfully shortened to TMDs) and these do include malocclusion which when someone suffers from a "bad bite" which can cause difficulties when chewing or biting, even when swallowing or talking.
However TMDs is something of a “catchall” term covering a range of conditions affecting jaw joints and muscles and though traditionally it was thought the chief cause was the way a person's jaw and teeth lined up, today it is generally accepted there are often numerous factors working together and in some cases the underlying problem is stress in one form or another.
Which is one reason why hypnotherapy may help – though not the only one. For instance TMDs can also be affected by personal habits such constantly chewing gum or gnawing pencil tops.
Bruxism broadly occurs in two forms; (1) awake bruxism with involuntary teeth clenching and jaw bracing or (2) sleep bruxism with teeth grinding and jaw muscle contractions.
Sleep bruxism seems to be more common but even with cases of awake bruxism the person concerned may not be aware of it. This can be because it is a subconscious behaviour triggered by those emotional or psychological factors.
The number of people affected may be surprisingly high; Stanford University School of Medicine, Sleep Disorders Center studied more than 13,000 patients in Britain, Germany and Italy and found over eight per experienced sleep bruxism.
The researchers concluded the condition was “common in the general population and represented the third most frequent parasomnia” - sleep disorders involving abnormal movements, behaviour or emotions.
The condition affects children and adults, though it is most commons between 25 to 44 years. Those with sleep bruxism may not know what they are doing their wives, husbands or partners who sleep in the same room are usually only too well aware – because of the noise the grinding makes.
Certainly bruxism can exert extremely powerful forces on teeth, gums, and joints. Estimates of just how substantial those forces can be have ranged from three times the forces required to chew food to as much as ten times – said to be enough to "crack a walnut."
The reason for such extraordinary force is that the grinding or clenching is not under the control of the conscious brain, which would act to moderate or prevent such actions, but is essentially an unconscious behaviour.
This unconscious behaviour may be due to stress or anxiety or the consequence of anger – especially unresolved anger which may have been unresolved for many years, It can also be due to frustration or to strong competitiveness.
Fortunately hypnotherapy offers effective ways overcoming these emotional/psychological problems.
If you have been diagnosed as suffering from bruxism, teeth grinding or clenching and would like to find out how hypnotherapy could help you, then you can discuss the options by contacting the Therapy Partnership for a free consultation