Hypnotherapy for Bruxism

Bruxism is a condition which includes grinding, clenching and/or gnashing of teeth unconsciously. This happens throughout the day or often when asleep.

It is one of the symptoms of stress. Although not dangerous in itself, (unlike high blood pressure) it can lead to permanent dental damage. Therefore it leads to 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. Then looking for alternative ways of dealing with it. Focusing on 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.

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. As a result, they discussed evidence “indicating that a carefully constructed hypnotic induction with posthypnotic suggestions for symptom control would be more effective than general relaxation.”

Tricky relationship

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. Consequently, 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.

See the International Journal of Clinical and experimental Hypnosis

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, Kingston Bagpuize, Abingdon, or Bampton, and we can take it from there. Also see Anxiety