Dentist Questions Clenching teeth

How can I stop my husband from grinding his teeth in his sleep?

My husband grinds his teeth in his sleep, which has led to many dental problems for him. What can be done to stop this habit?

20 Answers

This is a very good question, and one that is related to an important topic of sleep apnea and sleep deprivation. Usually, grinding teeth at night indicates airway concerns and I would suggest seeing your dentist and a possible referral for a sleep study. These can now be done at home for most patients, but must be diagnosed by a sleep specialist. In some cases, an oral appliance can be fabricated, and for others a C-PaP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device is used to aid in providing adequate breathing to maintain oxygen levels in the brain while sleeping.

Another concern during sleep apneic episodes, the person will waken and while this is occurring acid reflux occurs and stomach acid can go into the oral cavity. This can also irritate the esophagus, trachea, and cause upper respiratory irritation. Chronic acid reflux leads to increased dental disease.

There are many that have compromised airways, and when in deep sleep, the muscles are very relaxed, closing the airway. Bruxism is one way the body responds, much like a reflex to open airways during sleep. Please seek professional care from your dentist as chronic nightly bruxism is highly correlated with sleep disturbances.

Again great question and a very important topic related to dental health!

Dr. Joe Ferraro
He should have a custom dental appliance made by a Dentist to protect his teeth from further damage.
I wish there was a way to stop, then I would stop myself. He needs to wear a guard at night when he sleeps to prevent the damage and problems that can occur from the grinding.
Grabbing is called bruxism and is usually the result of too much stress in our lives. Sleep is meant to let us recharge our batteries and if we have to so much nervous energy but we have to grind our teeth this means we have a subconscious need to resolve issues of the day during the time that we should be sleeping. Eliminate all causes of stress which is easier said than done and Institute the use of a Night Guard to protect the teeth rule out sleep apnea and you should be good to go with a comfortable night's rest for all concerned
A simple night guard will help him a lot. It not only stops his grinding, but also will help him with his TMJ and protect his teeth.
Have a dentist make him an occlusal splint to insert onto his teeth when going to sleep.
Many patients can stop this habit and minimize damage to the teeth with a night guard bite splint. These should be custom fit and made of hard plastic. Athletic mouth guards and over the counter ones tend not to work well and are hard to keep clean. Dentists can easily make a comfortable one. Some patients benefit from medicines that act on central neurotransmitters and reduce the grinding tendency. Stress reduction techniques and any major bite discrepancies- like a high filling- should be evaluated. Significant bite modification by a dentist should be avoided. Bite splints are reversible and should be tried first.
Teeth grinding is seen as a result of stress and tension. Night guards are routinely placed to protect the teeth from chipping and open the bite dimension to reduce pressure in the jaw joint. Ultimately, the best treatment is to reduce or eliminate the stress and tension.
There is nothing to be done that can stop this. This is subconscious and will occur no matter what. The best option would be to manage through the use of a custom nightguard.
Teeth grinding is usually a result of other underlying issues i.e. stress, airway blockage during sleep and even malocclusion. Best short answer and quick thing to do is to get him a nightguard to prevent further damage to his teeth. The nightguards work best if they are made custom to the patient in a dental office but there are better long-term options available that can be discussed after a full exam. Hope this helps!
He does it unconsciously while sleeping; starting with a night guard : would be a good starting point
Nighttime grinding is termed "bruxism". It is nature's way of milling a better fit. There is something that the brain does not like about how your husband's teeth fit together and is instructing the muscles to chew away the interference. The best way to deal with this is to have a dentist mill away those interferences with an "occlusal adjustment", and if that isn't possible then wear a night guard.
He needs to see a dentist to get evaluated. A custom made occlusal appliance can prevent damages cause by grinding.
As teeth grinding is often a behavioral issue, my suggestion would be to have your husband fitted for an occlusion night guard that he’d wear while sleeping. It would minimize any tooth damage and allow for the behavior to be changed.

Jay Freedman, DDS, FACD, FICD, FPFA
The best solution is to go to his dentist to fabricate a soft night guard. This will help not to destroy his teeth. Some people grind their teeth during the day. There is a hard acrylic, clear splint for lower teeth for the day time.
Grinding happens always while the person is asleep, so it is not a habit that he can stop. There are many reasons for grinding, like misaligned teeth or wrong bite or stress, etc. Wearing and breaking sometimes of teeth due to grinding happens all the time. I advise him to go visit his dentist that can help him with an appliance at night after finding out his problem.
Your husband could benefit from a nightguard. This is a comfortable plastic appliance worn at night. A comprehensive examination by the dentist is required before this appliance is fabricated.
He needs to be fitted with a bruxism appliance or night guard. He can get this from the dentist.

Dr. Hussein Shivji
Grinding teeth while sleeping is unhealthy both for his teeth and likely his body. There is nothing you can do to stop his grinding, but you can encourage him to seek an evaluation for sleep apnea. Many times grinding is an indication of sleep apnea. Does he stop breathing/become quiet while sleeping? If he does not have apnea, then an occlusal guard to be worn nightly will protect his teeth from destruction and the noise of grinding is kinder to your ears.

Good luck.
There is not a straightforward answer to this issue. There are a variety of reasons he may be grinding including potential sleep apnea. Initially, I would have him see his dentist for an evaluation. Sometimes, an occlusal guard is sufficient to protect the teeth and decrease the grinding at night. However, if the problem is associated with sleep apnea, then he needs to see his physician. The MD can order a test to evaluate sleep apnea.
So, in short, your husband needs to make an appointment with his dentist and/or MD. Over-the-counter mouth guards are not recommended as these often increase the grinding.

Jennifer Rankin, DDS