Who Am I?
And My 20+ Years Teeth Grinding Experience
My name is Julie Simpson and I am originally from Florida, USA. I am currently working in the South East Asia region.
I first discovered my night time teeth grinding activities at the age of 9 which was around 23 years ago! I was then staying over at a friend’s house and I can still remember being woken up in the middle of the night as my friend was freaking out because I was grinding my teeth so violently.
As there was no pain and it occurred when I was sleeping, this occurrence was left un-dealt with.
During my teenage years, I realized my teeth grinding condition was getting worse. I sometimes grinded so intensely that I would be able to hear the sounds that I made while I was half conscious in sleep. My mom also mentioned about it several times when we went on vacation and slept in the same room. Again as I was not experiencing any pain, none of us really made a fuss about it since we were not aware of bruxism.
The Dentist & The Teeth Grinding Mouth Guard
As I reached my late teenhood and grew increasingly self conscious about my body, I brought up the teeth grinding with my dentist during an annual check-up. A closer examination of my teeth revealed that there was already very minor chips at the edges of my teeth. It was barely noticeable and my dentist would not have diagnosed bruxism had I not told him about my night time habit.
My dentist as a matter of factly told me that since I had experienced teeth grinding before the age of 10, there was nothing much that could be done as the habit had already set in. According to him if they try to fit braces on the children before reaching puberty, there would be a chance of correction and that the teeth grinding may stop. Any treatment done past puberty had extremely slim chances of success and rarely heard of.
Looking back at what he said after doing a lot of research on bruxism in my much later years, the advice he gave me as a qualified professional was terrible.
Anyways, as (according to my dentist) nothing could be done, I was recommended a custom fit mouth guard for my upper row of teeth which I was told I had to wear every night for the rest of my life. This was to protect me from literally grinding my teeth into oblivion. The dentist essentially tried to remedy the effects of my teeth grinding rather than the cause of it.
My parents ended up paying a hefty sum for the whole check-up and the custom teeth grinding mouth guard which was to be my saving grace. Or so I thought.
In less than 2 weeks, I gave up on the mouth guard and it ended up somewhere at the back of a drawer never to be seen again. It was such an uncomfortable thing to wear to sleep. I would salivate a lot and drool on to my pillows. It was disgusting. My sleeping patterns were also affected and I constantly woke up many times during the night. Suffice to say, wearing the mouth guard for the rest of my life was not an appealing option.
Popping Jaw, Painful Jaw
Years went by and I didn’t give my teeth grinding condition much thought anymore. Some of my boyfriends did bring up the noise I made in my sleep but in general, they tolerated it just like one would tolerate a snoring bed partner.
It wasn’t until I started sensing a dull popping sound coming from my jaw whenever I chewed gum or was eating or even when I yawned that I began to get concerned again about my teeth grinding. For the most part, I ignored it and gradually the popping became so familliar that I couldn’t recall when exactly it started or whether it had been there all along. If you ask me today, I still wouldn’t be able to tell you but I’ pretty sure it lasted a few years.
Then one day pain struck. My jaw had somehow clicked into a wrong position as I was yawning one morning. As usual (for many years) there was a bit of soreness in the jaw upon waking up but this time there was a sharp pain on my right jaw joint. The pain persisted for days and I was finding it increasingly difficult to eat or speak properly.
It began to affect my normal daily routine but I refrained from taking a visit to the doctor or dentist because of my past experience with them and my teeth grinding condition. I guess you could say I was convinced that there was nothing I could do to remedy the condition.
Somehow or rather the pain gradually started to ease out. It returned to a somewhat bearable level of comfort but my jaw never really felt the same. It had become very sensitive and I avoided hard foods and opening my mouth too wide in fear that the incident would repeat itself.
Treating Teeth Grinding Online
It was about then that I considered looking online for a solution. I began reading up and found out a lot of interesting facts about teeth grinding and how there were a LOT of other people who suffered from bruxism. I made friends with other bruxers through forums and chats. We talked about possible remedies, compared stories on how we found out about bruxism and so on. I then got referred to a bruxism treatment guide written by a guy named Charles Harrison who was a former bruxism sufferer. Apparently a few people I chatted to had given it a go and it worked.
I was hesitant for about a month. I think it was more like procrastination but that’s another story. I purchased the guide and I found it to be very well put together compared to the last guide I bought online on how to train my dog.
I followed through the guide thoroughly and diligently. What do you know… within I think 4-5 days, my jaw felt more relaxed than it had ever been. The ‘knot’ in my right jaw seemed to have significantly softened up too. The dull popping was still there but within 2 weeks, it was all gone save for just the very slightest bone rubbing sensation which eventually disappeared as well. I couldn’t believe it. The guide worked for me and it took me 20+ years to find a solution to my teeth grinding.
I wanted to confirm that I had stopped teeth grinding in sleep but I was single at the time so I got one of my housemates who stays up until the wee hours of the morning (watching movies on her computer) to monitor my sleeping habits for a few days. True enough, the grinding had stopped as well.
I feel much more relaxed these days. My jaw doesn’t get tired like it used too and I can happily munch away at food without any fear of jaw pain. I try not to push my luck too often though.
I was very grateful and started recommending the guide I used to all the bruxers I knew online. It worked for them too and as I became a bit too caught up answering the same type of questions about teeth grinding in forums, I decided to start up this website. I couldn’t live in the forums forever but the information had to keep going.
I compiled most of the basics of bruxism that people wanted to know about here on this site and as there was already a working treatment guide written, I could direct bruxers straight to their real saving grace; not some overpriced mouth guard.
This site has grown quite a bit. It will continue growing to give awareness and information to people about bruxism as well as be updated to reflect better treatment options as they become available out there in the market. In fact, just a little while back I found an even better treatment guide than the one I originally used to great effect written by a therapist (and former bruxer as well) named Katherine Page.
To find out more about the treatment guide I used ( plus the new one I recently discovered ), CLICK HERE for my “Top Pick for Recommended Teeth Grinding Treatment Guides”.
Finally you can put a stop to teeth grinding.