Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy for Bruxism in Oxford, Abingdon and Bampton
It is one of the symptoms of stress, although not dangerous in itself – unlike high blood pressure – it can lead to permanent dental damage and a variety of unpleasant side effects such as headaches and jaw pain.
The conventional treatment for Bruxism, through one’s dentist, are mouth guards and splints. Most splints work by ensuring the back teeth are separated and this protects the teeth from the pressure of clenching.
Solution focused therapy for Bruxism
The solution focused aspect of bruxism, is very much focused on changing the anxiety that drives it and looking for alternative ways of dealing with it. Looking at the goals for therapy and helping the sufferer create a future plan of action that changes the habit.
Hypnotherapy for Bruxism
We don’t treat the bruxism itself per say, but the stress that is making the person clench their teeth. Tightening muscles and clenching of fists and teeth are results of the fight or flight not taken into action. So all the tension goes to the muscles, including the face.
Working on reducing the stress, and being more mindful about our bodies and aware of how our posture is affecting us, we work on relaxation and changing our behaviour on either to rid oneself of the stressor, or how to change the way you react or feel about the stressors. Suggestions can be used to change behaviours, so when a person is not paying attention, the subconscious can allow the jaw to relax.
CBT for Bruxism
Anxiety is the driving force and CBT can help highlight the thoughts and actions, and to make connections or change behaviours. Testing and experimenting can help find better ways to respond.
Mindfulness for Bruxism
Mindfulness can help just be in the moment, giving oneself some space to remove yourself from the stressors. Concentrating on breathing techniques and mindful exercises can reduce the anxiety.
Case study in using hypnotherapy for Bruxism
Thomas Dowd of Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, USA published a case study into Nocturnal Bruxism and hypnotherapy
in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis in 2013.
He cited that in 2000 Simon and Lewis had conducted some experiments using biofeedback and comparing against hypnosis. They discovered patients treated with hypnosis showed an average 27% decrease in pain scores, They also discussed evidence “indicating that a carefully constructed hypnotic induction with posthypnotic suggestions for symptom control would be more effective than general relaxation.”
In Dowd’s case study on a woman A.B. he had discovered she had a tricky relationship with both her mother and husband. Not only did he use hypnosis but also CBT. She had 6 sessions in total and the treatment was a success, at a follow up a year later she reported that her jaw pain had not returned and relationships had improved, and she was planning on doing a degree. Dowd concluded that she had demonstrated the pattern of psychological symptoms noted in other literature, that bruxers were prone to anxiety and stress.
If you clench your teeth and you have dental problems, aching jaw and/or headaches then hypnotherapy can help – call me on 07508 658934 to book a consultation in Oxford, Abingdon, or Bampton, and we can take it from there.
Penny Ling is a widely experienced hypnotherapist who has worked with everyone from top executives to stroke victims since 2007. She has been editor of Hypnotherapy Today Magazine and is a supervisor and mentor for members of the AfSFH and NCH.
Read Penny’s inspiring story “How I beat all my phobias”, or find out more how hypnotherapy could help your problem by downloading “How Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help with life”. Feel free to send Penny a message here.