Teeth Chattering – The Main Causes And Solutions

You’ve probably experienced teeth chattering at some point when feeling the cold. But it’s not just the weather that produces this irritating dental rattling.

Maybe you notice it happens when feeling anxious or having a panic attack. For some it’s an unexpected symptom of a medical disorder, and for others a side effect of a medication they’re taking.

While researching for a previous article about teeth grinding at night I realized how common teeth chattering is. What I also discovered is that there isn’t much conclusive information to be found about it.

So I decided to do some detective work to shed some light for anyone who’s been puzzling over why it happens to them, and give you some ideas about managing it.

The 5 main causes

There appear to be 5 main categories of possible causes of teeth chattering:

  • Feeling cold.
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching).
  • Neurological diseases.
  • A side effect of taking or withdrawing from some medications or drugs.
  • Anxiety, stress or panic attacks.

1. Teeth chattering when you’re cold

It’s not uncommon for your teeth to start chattering when you’re feeling cold, and the explanation for this is simple. Your body has an internal thermostat that tries to keep you at a stable temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

When you’re exposed to cold and your temperature drops, the thermostat orders the body to take action, and shivering is one form of action to warm up again. Chattering teeth is simply a form of shivering. So in this circumstance there’s nothing to worry about – it’s perfectly normal.

2. Bruxism – teeth grinding in your sleep or while awake

This isn’t what most people mean when they talk about chattering teeth. But it’s still important to rule the possibility out.

Bruxism is the name given to the very common problem of grinding or clenching your teeth during the day or while asleep.

It’s not the same as the kind of rapid teeth chattering that can happen. But if you think you are actually grinding or clenching your teeth more, or doing it as well, then you might find it helpful to read this article about grinding your teeth in your sleep.

3. Neurological diseases

Without wanting to spook people who have chattering teeth due to anxiety, there are various neurological diseases which could cause it.

If the teeth chattering is caused by a neurological disease, you would usually experience it for longer periods of time and in a more sustained way. Not just for a short period of time when you are cold, anxious, stressed or having a panic attack.

Some possibilities include Oromandibular Dystonia, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Essential Tremor and Benign Fasciculation Syndrome.

This is something you can discuss with your doctor if you are concerned. If you have severe or constant teeth chattering, you should definitely talk to a doctor about it.

And for finding out more information about it online, the best thing to do is a search using phrases like ‘teeth chattering tremor’ or ‘jaw tremor’.

This is because in terms of neurological diseases teeth chattering falls under the category of tremors. This will lead you to more helpful discussions about possible neurological causes.

4. Medication and recreational drugs

Certain medicines and recreational drugs can bring about tremors and chattering teeth. For example some anti-depressants, cocaine and amphetamines like ecstasy can cause it.

And some medications, like Benzodiazepines and sleeping pills, are notorious for creating tremors or chattering teeth as a withdrawal symptom. This can be either when cutting down or if suddenly cutting them out.

Furthermore steroids, alcohol and caffeine can all lead to tremors. Too much caffeine can lead to it, whereas alcohol withdrawal can cause it.

5. Teeth chattering when anxious, afraid or panicking

This is the one which many people mention in forums and websites about anxiety and panic attacks. It seems that it can manifest in one of three ways:

  • Experiencing chattering teeth when feeling especially anxious. It can be mild or severe, but usually only lasts as long as a particular episode of anxiety, fear or panic.
  • Experiencing it for longer periods as a symptom of feeling anxious much of the time.
  • Having it in the period after a panic attack.

So why does this happen?

The most common explanation is that it results from tension in the body, created by the anxiety or panic attack. When the jaw is tense the teeth will chatter if they are held close together.

It could be that when feeling anxious and tense it’s difficult to relax the jaw and mouth. So when your jaw closes tighter because of the tension, the teeth start to chatter. There is also the possibility that when you first notice it you focus on it even more, and that makes it either worse or last longer.

And if experiencing a severe panic attack, it could be that the cold feeling that often comes with it causes the body to start shivering to warm up.

If fear is the trigger, then the tremor might even be caused by the surge of adrenalin that comes when the body’s ‘fight or flight’ mechanism kicks in.

How to stop teeth chattering

Talking to a doctor

Dealing with the problem will of course depend on what’s causing it. It’s a good idea to speak to a doctor to rule out some of the more serious possible causes. They can test you for any neurological disorders if they feel it’s a possibility.

A doctor can also help distinguish between teeth chattering and grinding or clenching as occurs with bruxism. Your dentist would also be able to help rule out this possibility.

They will be able to assess whether any medication or drug you are taking you could be causing it, and take appropriate action to deal with any side effects or withdrawal.

And if it’s a psychological cause such as anxiety, stress or panic attacks, they can also help you either access a talking therapy or look into medications to help control it.


If you have a problem with teeth grinding, jaw clenching or chattering in your sleep then you have the option to use a mouth-guard. You can get kits to make them online or ask a dentist to help you.

If you do find yourself having an episode of chattering teeth when anxious, try to distract yourself from focusing on your jaw. Anything like reading, listening to music, walking or talking to someone can help shift your attention.

In terms of dealing with anxiety or panic attacks, if you are a long-term sufferer of anxiety then you have no doubt already heard the standard self-help advice. But if not, here are some suggestions for you to consider:

  • Try relaxation exercises such as yoga, deep breathing, mindfulness or meditation. You can also find lots of simple relaxation exercises here.
  • Listen to relaxing music. Have a look at my long list of great music for sleep or relaxation.
  • Make sure you eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Cut down on alcohol and caffeine.
  • Try to exercise regularly.
  • Talk to friends, family or support groups. You can also find many anxiety and panic forums with helpful and friendly members to share your experiences and get advice from.

And finally, two suggestions I’ve found from other people who suffer from it. Firstly, to massage your jaw to help relieve the tension. Secondly, chewing gum might help distract you from it happening and reduce any self-consciousness that comes from it.

Your thoughts

What do you think causes teeth chattering? What have you found makes it better or worse? Feel free to share you story, theories and solutions in the comments below.

62 CommentsLeave a comment

  • This is weird as I find myself chattering to tunes when I can’t tap my feet, tap a pencil, drum or snap my fingers

    • Hi Jack
      Thanks for your comment. With the risk of damaging your teeth, if you do this a lot, perhaps you’d be better off finding an alternative to satisfy your desire to tap out drum beats!

  • Thank you for this very informative article. It made me realize my teeth chattering was due to a withdrawal because I abruptly stopped taking my anti-depressant medication. I’m appreciative that you took the time to write and publish this.

    • Hi Lainey
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m glad you found the article helpful. It would be nice to know if you managed to stop the chattering by reducing the meds more slowly.

  • I have been chattering/tapping my teeth for years. I don’t know why. Sometimes it feels more like I need to clench my teeth to make the urge go away. It has taken its toll on my teeth. I have an upper partial and I have tapped so much that I have altered the fit of it and need to get it realigned.
    Thanks for your article, I am going to look into some of the things that you brought up. I never thought about it being tremors. But I have also had pain in my legs from a need to flex my muscles, so at night I ache. After reading this I will talk to my dr to see if this is some how related. Thanks!

    • Hi there
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m glad you found the article useful. Hopefully your doctor will be able to check what might be causing it and suggest something to help.

    • You might try Vitamin B-5 (Pantothenic Acid) 250 mg in the morning and 250 mg at night. It is an over the counter product that often helps and should do no harm. I hope it helps.

  • Hello Ethan,

    First of all thank you for your article. Very informative and helpful. I always wondered why anxiety made my teeth chatter, I thought it was unusual.
    Next, I’d like to urge you to keep on writing with the same heart.

    • Hi Joanne,

      Thank you for your comment, the compliment and motivating words. That’s very much appreciated. I’m glad you found the article useful, and that if you find a way to control the anxiety, your teeth chattering problem will improve.

  • A mouth guard can help protect your teeth at night, but if stress is causing the teeth grinding, you can look into ways to reduce or help manage the stress in your life. Have a look at WebMD’s comprehensive coverage about how teeth grinding affects your mouth, what it looks like, how to treat it, and much more.

    • Hi Austin
      I agree that if stress is causing the teeth grinding, then it’s a good idea to find ways to deal with the stress. And yes, webMD do have a good section about it too.

  • My teeth feel like they’re chattering when I put my two front and bottom teeth together. This has been going on for like 5 months now and i think it’s because I drank 2 ounces of this sleeping aid liquid &$@! because this &@$&?@! sold it to me as promethazine with codeine and now I still feel jacked up from it 5 months after. Also my tongue doesn’t seem to be right to me anymore. When I talk I’ll stumble over my words so I get ridiculously anxious when talking to someone because my jaw feels tense and tongue just don’t feel right it’s hard to explain. I’ve had jaw issues for about 2 years now before I ever drank that crap but i started getting actual pain again today since 2013 and I’m just worried about all this I need help.

    • Hi Adrian,
      Thanks for your comment, and sorry about all the trouble you’ve been having. I think that really you need to speak to a doctor about this, if you haven’t already, and get some tests done to see what is going on there. There’s not much I can do to help unfortunately, beyond reccommending getting some profesional advice.
      I hope you do resolve it though, it sounds like an unpleasant thing to deal with.
      All the best

  • Yes, it happened two nights in a row. I quit the antibiotics a tad early. The doctor put me on them, and all my tests came back negative so I probably didn’t need them in the first place. It stopped as soon as I stopped the antibiotics!

    • Hi again Diane
      Thanks for replying again. I thought it would probably stop once the antibiotics were out of your system. At least you know that those particular ones are not for you!
      All the best

  • My Doctor put me on 3 antibiotics. All my tests that he did came back negative, but he told me to stay on them. For the past 2 nights I have woken up cold with my teeth chattering. My thermostat is set at 80! The Doctor told me to stay on the antibiotics even tho he could find no cause. I think they are doing this to me! They are making me sick. I have never had this happen before. I am stressed right now, but normally quite calm. I can’t wait to be done with these drugs.

    • Hi Diane

      Thank you for your comment, and I’m sorry to hear you had such problems with the teeth chattering. It’s possible it was the antibiotics causing it. It was a while ago that you left this comment, so if you’re following it, I’d be very interested to hear if the problem stopped once you’d finished the antibiotics?

  • I have had worsening TMJ over the last year. I also have always clenched my jaws while awake and asleep. I have been on a very high dose of benzodiazepines for 28 years for severe anxiety and panic disorder. (2 x 1mg of Ativan and 4 x 5mg of diazepam daily.) Last year, my jaw started chattering regularly throughout the day. Quite frightening, as a sufferer does not know what it will lead to or how to control it. Anyhow, I do not know the cause of this chattering, but there are tons of reasons why this could be going on. Tmj, Eustachian Tube Disorder, Benzodiazepine usage. (Doctor recently started me on a taper, but I was experiencing small spasms and frequent chattering before that.) One thing a nutrionist at a health food store told me is that a serious deficiency in MAGNESIUM could be causing the spasms. I do not know if I have that, but it would be possible as in my first 43 years of life, I did not take care of myself in any way. I looked great, but I was a mess, physically and psychologically. I also abused my body for a very long time with alcohol and other things and I have spend the last EIGHT YEARS trying to get healthy and I feel awful. Now, back to the magnesium deficiency. The only way to cure that, obviously, is by restocking the seriously depleted magnesium stores. Now to do this, they recommend high doses of magnesium for 2-3 weeks and then a regular maintenance dosage. What happens, though, is terrible and terrifying. The body is so starved for magnesium that it kind of “spazzes out” when you give it some. It is DESPERATE to have some and the 300, (or more), functions in the body that rely on magnesium to work properly, just freak because they are literally dying for this mineral. This will make the jaw spasms worse. I tried to do it for THREE DAYS and couldn’t deal with it, so now I am taking just one tablet, (200mg), of magnesium a day, but that doesn’t quite cut it. It is not enough to restock my (likely) seriously depleted stores. It is such a double-edged sword. You get way worse with supplements before you get better and it can take SIX MONTHS to get a healthy amount of magnesium in the cells. (It is like having Anemia and trying to re-stock with Iron.) I also HAVE anemia. Sheesh, it gets overwhelming. Anyhow, just so people know, GET YOUR MAGNESIUM CHECKED and find a way of treating it. I know there are I.V. drips and time-release patches. I live in Canada and I do not get to choose a lot of my treatments or have much input in how my doctor approaches a health issue as we don’t pay for our general healthcare so the doctors are the boss even if they have NO CLUE what they are doing. Magnesium~~~something for all of you jaw chattering people to be aware of. Peace and healing wishes to all.

    • Hi Tracey

      Thanks for your comment, and I’m sorry to hear you’ve obviously had so many health conditions to deal with over the years. It’s interesting what you say about magnesium as many people have also commented on article about how that can help with another spasm which happens when falling asleep – the hypnic jerk. However, nobody has said it took so long to work, or that their bodies reacted in the way you describe. In fact, many people comment that it was helpful in a very short space of time. Can you tell me where you got that information please, if you have a moment?
      Perhaps in your case you could try eating food with a higher magnesium content. I talk about that in an article about restless legs syndrome, which you might also find interesting.
      All the best

  • Thanks for the info, I have just been taken of sertraline and although I wouldn’t class mine as ‘chattering’ more vibrating I would say it’s definitely due to withdrawal. I also have been getting white flashing in my eyes intermittently (occurs mainly at night and corresponds to each foot step…if that makes sense?). I hope it sorts itself out quickly as it is a very disconcerting feeling. Ps also seems to have developed Reynauds Syndrome, not sure if it’s related?
    Thanks again for your article.

    • Hi Roni

      Thank you for your comment. I would say to talk to your doctor about the flashing sensations and the Reynauds, if you haven’t already. I’m not sure if it’s related, but they might hopefully be able to help you with that.
      All the best with coming off the sertraline.
      Stay strong!

  • Hi there, I have teeth chattering due to withdrawal from benzodiazepines. Did not know they were addictive. Doctor never told me! Reached tolerance about nine months ago. It has been terrible, teeth and body shakes, as well as many other torturous symptoms. For any of you out there, is does get better. I am three months off 3 to 4mg of this white poison, but it will probably take 6 to 12 months to heal. So for all my chattering friends, time heals!

    • Hi Stan

      Thanks for the comment, and for the positive words for other readers.
      All the best with the continuing effort to stay off the benzos.
      Stay strong!

  • I’m a 64 year old man. When I was 56 my teeth started chattering and they never stop if I keep my teeth somewhat close together. My mom had movement tremors and my Dad lived to be 92 but the last ten he had Parkinson’s which disturbed his swallowing the most. I have been taking Wellbutrin for 23 years, a high dose and also clonazpam at night. So the heavy drug usage has been long and heavy. I was hammered with clinical depression at 40 and it took a year to discover Wellbutrin was the only anti-depressant that worked. My hands also have tremors, and the intensity varies a lot, that started soon after the meds, and I took lithium for the first year as well. I lost my wife 7 years ago. I wasn’t too concerned about the tremors but they have worsened and are quite obvious in meeting women for dates. I know that it scares off some of them. I don’t know what it is but I also sometimes get whole body tremors. I was wondering if botox or some medicine might be good. A neurologist told me it wasn’t Parkinson’s but the sites claim jaw tremor is almost always Parkinson’s. This vicious cycle of worsening tremors and loneliness and guilt have made it difficult to see anything in a positive way.

    • Hi Richard,

      Thank your for your comment and for sharing your story. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had to deal with so much over the years. It must have been very difficult trying to cope with.
      If you’re getting conflicting advice, then perhaps you could ask to speak to a different doctor or neurologist. If they say the same, then it at least might bring some peace of mind. Or perhaps they will be able to pin-point the exact cause of your tremors. There’s nothing wrong with seeking additional medical advice.
      Have you had any counseling or talking therapy of any kind? From your last sentence, it seems like that might be something which could help you. I can’t recommend it highly enough if you have any kind of emotional difficulties, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you can deal with some underlying issues, it might help you to feel more at ease when meeting women.
      Stay strong and positive and you’ll get through this period:-)

  • Thanks for the great article Ethan, it’s very helpful, clear and comprehensive, I’m looking forward to your next ones. Keep up the good work!

  • I get it when I don’t feel well as in I’m in a flare up I have M.E and Fibromyalgia which are neurological diseases so do you think it’s that?

    • Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for your comment. It could be connected to your other diagnoses, but your doctor would probably be the best person to make an assessment of that. If you’re taking any medication, then you could also ask them if that could contribute to it?

  • Thank you. I woke up just now, 1.5 days after my hip replacement, teeth chattering madly. It’s stopped now after reading your article, and bizarrely, emptying my bladder!
    Thanks again.

    • Hi Michelle,

      That’s great! I’d love to be able to say that just reading my article was a cure…for teeth chattering or any other thing I write about here! Probably going to the toilet did more good though, unless of course it was being caused by anxiety, and reading this has helped settle you a bit.

  • Hi. It’s late right now, and I am suddenly getting teeth chattering. This has NEVER happened before. I’m not scared nor cold. I don’t have anxiety and never had a panic attack. What could this be? (This is the first time my teeth ever randomly started chattering, so I’m scared!) Thank you.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      Sorry to hear you’re up at night worrying about this. Hopefully by the time you read this reply it will have long stopped and you’ll have gotten to sleep. To be honest it’s absolutely impossible to even guess what might have caused it. Hopefully, like many people who have a sudden and strange event in their sleep or at night, it will be a one-off and nothing to worry about. If it starts happening regularly then perhaps you could speak to a doctor about it. But there’s a good chance it will be just that one time.
      All the best

  • My cousin has this weird chattering problem wherein she starts grinding the teeth against suddenly and says she cannot control it until she puts some cloth or something between her teeth. its been a problem since her childhood. Is it because of any deficiency of Vitamin or something ??
    she has a high b12 deficiency

    • Hi Prachi,

      Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear your cousin has been having such a problem with teeth chattering for so long. It’s impossible to say what’s causing it, and really the best thing to do would be to talk to her doctor about it. They will know the full medical history and can do tests to see what may be causing it and recommend treatment options.
      All the best

  • Thanks for your thoughts, Ethan.

    I can’t guarantee that it won’t happen again by the same cause. I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 63 (9 years ago) and reading Gabor Mate’s “Scattered Minds” on it was like reading my own biography. Some of us don’t learn until we’ve made the same mistake seventeen times. Mind you, the trauma of being out of control, despite the clarity of my mind, could account for at least 16 mistakes. I certainly won’t use a used frying pan in the near future. But thanks for your hope, anyway. Yes, as you say, it was a good thing!

  • Thanks, Ethan. I sensed a chuckle in the last line. I will certainly throw out the half of it that I didn’t eat and saved in the fridge. When I decided to cook in the interesting mixture of spices, sauces and fat, I had forgotten what I had used them for. Since then I’ve remembered that it was four lamb chops. This makes it pretty certain that it was food poisoning. A remarkable warning to keep me on the right path. In the past I have recognized it only by pains in the gut and borborygmous. As for more heat, I find it is easier to sleep in a cool bedroom, though I occasionally use a hot water bottle for my feet.

    • Hi again David,

      Nice to hear back from you!
      It was a chuckle, but meant in the nicest possible way:-)
      It’s probably a good thing that it was just food poisoning, as you don’t need to worry about having developed an on-going problem. And that’s probably one of the few occasions when you could say that food poisoning was a good thing!
      Hopefully you’ll never experience either issue again.
      All the best

  • Mine is a one-off, so far. When I went to bed last night I got into a cold bed, as usual, the thermometer set at 15 Celsius (59F), with my socks and talk radio on, the former because I have peripheral neuropathy and the latter because it helps me fall asleep quickly; visualizing the subject matter segues into dreams et voila! The radio program was one I don’t like, but I left it on, and it served its purpose. I woke up a little while later because my teeth were chattering and I was shivering and breathing stertorously – as deeply as I could then but not as deep as I can when awake, with a quick in-out. My head was also tense. I did not notice all the details right away but I felt decidedly cold. But because I knew it would be colder outside the bedclothes (two summer duvets) I stayed in. The only anxiety I had was over my then present condition. It kept me awake for about half an hour, just before the end of which I clasped my head in my hands, and the next thing I knew I was waking up normally 7 hours later. Thoughts that had crossed my mind included these: that the cause might have been food poisoning – I had cooked an omelette in the interesting looking debris from a previous meal cooked in it a couple of days before; if I were dying, then so be it – I would know more about that when and where I woke up. I had other thoughts but these are the main ones. The experience was quite dreadful in the fact that I was unable to control it. Only resignation to its continuity resolved it by letting me fall asleep.

    • Hi David

      Thank you for your comment and sharing your experience of chattering teeth in what sounds like a very chilly part of the world! If it was a one-off you may never know exactly what caused it. Perhaps it was something physical, perhaps your two duvets not keeping you warm enough, and perhaps something on your mind which you weren’t even fully aware of.
      Feeling helpless is never a nice feeling, so it’s understandable that the lack of control made the experience as unpleasant as it was. I think you probably did one of the only things you could do by accepting it and trying not to get too stressed. If it happens again you might want to experiment with other ways to keep your bedroom a bit warmer. Maybe even think of getting a heated mattress pad for example. And maybe cook the next omelet a different way just in case…
      All the best

  • I suffered from extreme anxiety attacks, having at least 10 per day and 1 per night. (Caused by stress, dumped my boyfriend of 10 years and started a new job!) My doctor suggested cutting out coffee and alcohol, and I agreed to only cutting the coffee! Within weeks my attacks lessened. I went 2 years without coffee and slowly tried to reintroduce it but recently have been drinking 3 cups a day. Well a couple of weeks ago I woke in the middle of the night to a panic attack but this time it was accompanied by extreme teeth chattering. Scariest panic attack I have ever have! All I can say is that I have cut back on caffeine and I haven’t had one since!

    • Hi Angie

      Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear you’ve had such a battle with anxiety and panic attacks. It’s great though that you now know what seems to be bringing them on, i.e. caffeine. I think if I was in your position I’d definitely be cutting back, or stopping altogether drinking caffeine. It’s not the easiest one to deny yourself though, especially if you like a coffee in the morning. But if you did it once, I’m sure you can do it again.
      All the best and thanks for sharing your story,

    • Hi Maddie

      I imagine that happening over a long period of time isn’t going to be great for your teeth. Even if it is only light, imagine the effect if it happens thousands of times. If you’re concerned about it, you can always talk to your dentist about it who may be able to tell you if it’s having an effect so far.

  • My teeth chatter when I have extreme anxiety or stress. I’m not sure if it’s an actual “panic attack”, as I don’t experience my chest being pushed or “sat” on. I seem to breath Ok, unless I REALLY start to tense up and hyper-ventilate. There’s like 3 different stages of “chattering”. One is the basic “coming on” symptom. But as you described, the more I “focus” on it, the more it comes on. The 2nd is “chattering” like I’m cold (when I’m not). It’s a more “open mouth” (shorter in between) chatter, and usually harder on my teeth. The worst one happens when my whole body “tenses” up, and I seem to have my mouth and teeth completely together, but the chattering is at is worst. Short, fast, chattering, with my whole body even starting to “tremble”. That is when I usually hyper-ventilate, because I think of all the things in my life that “stress” me out. I had one of these episodes last night. I have been having pain in my lower back that goes down to my LEFT leg for about 10 years. At first, they could not find anything, because the focus was on my leg, and not on my back. Then I got an MRI 5 years ago that said I just had the degeneterive disc disease (arthritis as you get older), and a few, 3, bulging discs (I was 37 at the time). They also mentioned a small “tear”, and a small limpoma (?..Sorry for the spelling)that they were not too concerned with. Five years ago they were “bulging”, but the most recent one in October says “protruding” discs now. The “pain” is now in my lower back (before it was just my left leg), left thigh (sometimes front, sometimes back of my thigh), left calf (back or side of it), and even my foot (left). So, they are treating my back (with epidural injections that haven’t worked), and medication for the left leg and back pain (which is USUALLY on the LEFT side of my spine. However, recently (2 months ago), I found 2 “knots” in my pelvic/hip area (same side-left), that they want my physical therapist to concentrate on with the myofascial release technique. It does help, and usually I am pain free (for a few hours), but the weird thing is that she can work my pelvic area on the “Illyactus” (sorry for spelling) muscle, where there were two knots that actually felt like a “bone”! Or she can work the muscles in my lower left back, and get just as much relief. I also shared that only about once a month (for past 8 months) I would have a sharp pain on my left side of my back (kidney area) at the very END of my urination. It then went to my whole left side (front,side, and back) at the END of urinating (but it was only OCCASIONALLY). However, about 3 times (all spread out), I had the same pain, on my whole left side, but through the WHOLE TIME of urinating. She ordered a CT Scan at that point, which came back “normal”. I have not had an episode of that for about a month now. I think it has to do with “lying” on a machine that’s called “kneeding fingers” (massage machine) that has 2 HARD balls that circulate, like someone giving you a massage. I lay on it (usually on my left pelvic/upper abdomen-I know NOT to lay on the “middle” of my stomach area), and work out any tight spots I feel. Problem is, lately I have spent HOURS (3-4) CONSTANTLY digging into my pelvic/abdomen area to get relief for my leg. I only do that if I cannot take the leg pain any longer. I have been lying on it more and more lately, and for longer (hours) amounts of time. I have also worked out “knots” on the RIGHT side of my neck just below my jaw (So lower pain is all the LEFT side, and upper pain is the RIGHT side). There is a muscle there that she told me the name, but I can’t remember. There’s also a spot on the beginning of my hairline on the back of my head (a muscle). Sometimes, I feel a “shooting” sharp pain all the way to the front of my head, and is sometimes too unbearable to continue. But I continue, and usually feel better (in my back and leg) after working those muscles too! Then I drink lots of water, and take an Epsom salt bath. Another weird thing is that I have worked out the same muscles on the LEFT side of my neck and head (that do not seem to hurt like the RIGHT side), but have gotten “relief” from that too. Experiencing the “release” symptoms (dizzy, drunk, happy, emotional) that I had in the therapist’s office when she first “released” some muscles in my pelvic/hip area…Ok, icing on the cake…I do take a lot of medication. Adderall XR, Lamictal, XANAX, Nucyenta, Ambien CR, etc. I had taken 1/2 of a Xanax an hour before my “episode” started, which was because I was in excruciating pain. I had also taken 2 500mg Tylenol, and 3 200mg Advil to try and get out of pain. I was crying because I was in so much pain. But this time, it was my lower back that was killing me. I started on the machine (I don’t turn it on to “move”, I just lay on the tight spots) right under my ribs on the left side (but it was my lower back that was hurting), I was on it for about an hour and a half before my husband came home. I was getting “relief”, but “could not stop”, as always, because I keep finding “new spots”…What set me into the “anxiety” (teeth chattering) was when my husband “tested” my thighs to see if they “felt” the same on both sides. I had told him that my left thigh was “numb” in an particular area since Sunday. He tried with his fingers, which I told him he needed to use 2 of the SAME “things” with the same pressure on each side. He used 2 “tops” of a pen. The reason I freaked out, was because he kept saying, “Ok, do you feel that?”, which he had been asking me before he would start with his fingers. I told him twice that the pen was on my shorts on the left side (twice). He then said, “No, honey, it’s not”. When I sat up to “prove” he was wrong, I saw that the pen was not on my shorts, and indeed on my leg!! I could not feel it on my leg!! I lost it, and started to break down and cry. Of course, that lead into the chattering teeth, and my whole body tensing up too. It was the “worst” teeth chattering by far. We’ve haven’t been “getting along”, so he didn’t hug and rub my back (like he used to), but did lay beside me. He stayed with me until I could “breath” again, and my teeth and body stopped chattering/trembling. So, with that said, my husband said he thinks it “could” be a lot of things, but that he didn’t want to tell me, because I’ll just get scared. This was before the numbness “test”. He did mention MS. Do you know how they “check” for that? Is it bloodwork, or through a neurologist? I have seen a neurologist years ago, and remember the same tests she did. It was exactly the same on both sides…So, to sum it up, I have the anxiety part, the medication part, and now, I guess the “neurological” part. I know the chattering was “set off” by my freaking out and crying, but the other stuff you said makes sense too. Also, I do NOT eat healthy at all. I do take vitamins faithfully. I do not work out, but play softball (first time) on my church’s league. I am 42, and will be 43 in August. I have 3 boys 10-17, and I am not overweight. I have a “tummy” from my boys that never went away, but my weight for my height (and age) is good. I had been a stay at home mom most of my life, but started driving limos in 2011. I drove until last October. I quit because it was “too much” to keep up with the boys, my husband, and house. However, the pain has just gotten worse and worse. I notice it is the worst from 11:00am to about 6:30pm. I do not have pain (usually) when I am sleeping, or when I first get up, or “unwind” for bed. I also notice that if I am “preoccupied”, I still have the pain, but I don’t “focus” on it, so it is bearable. Like now, I have been writing this, and my left side of my lower back has been burning. Anyways, I am sorry for the EXTREMELY long “comment”. I am not one to “comment” on the internet like this, for ANYTHING! So, maybe that’s why I shared so much. Plus, I am searching for answers desperately now. It is affecting my everyday life, and I am miserable. :( Anyways, if you have feedback, or can recommend something, let me know. My husband keeps saying DIET, DIET, DIET! I know that would probably help, but I don’t eat all day. Only once at night before I go to bed. And, unless he cooks, it is not healthy. :( Thank you for reading. I appreciate it.

    • Hi Joanna

      First of all I apologize for the time it’s taken to reply to your comment. And secondly, don’t worry about the length. On some of the other articles readers have left extremely long comments, and I know that other readers really appreciate them and often find them helpful.

      It sounds like you have been through hell, and all the while having a family with 3 boys to looks after, and managing to work as well! So hats off to you for the determination that you must have to deal with so much pain and uncertainty and still be a mum and wife.

      With all that, something I do wonder is how much stress you must have been / still be under. I know you talk about anxiety and various physical problems. But have you thought much about the stress that this all probably creates?

      I know this might be very basic advice, but sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Have you thought about taking some time out? Maybe going on a little holiday, or even just taking a long weekend to do something relaxing? I’m not saying it will cure you of course, but it is a thought which immediately jumps out at me.

      And perhaps as well as seeking physical help from professionals, maybe seek some talking therapy if you haven’t already. Someone you can talk to about the anxiety and any other emotional issues that everything else is tied in with.

      I’m not an expert on ME, so I can’t help you with that one. But I would suggest talking to your husband again about what he thinks, and address his thoughts. Whether he is right or not, it’s better that you communicate fully – at least that’s how I see things. When anyone has health problems, the family is one of the most important factors in managing it.

      Sorry I can’t help more. Feel free to come back and give an update at any time. And I wish you all the best.

  • Hi Ethan-

    This teeth chattering when not cold thing has just started for me.

    I find this article to be the most informative & helpful I’ve found. Even compared to sites where doctors write comments & such. They write one or the other of your listed reasons, but not all.

    It’s likely a new & hopefully temporary anxiety bit for me, &/or a medication cut back.

    I’m not as worried about it now. Thank you. Keep up the good work!

    • Hi Lismay,

      Thank you firstly for your comment, and secondly for the compliment! It’s always nice to hear that an article has proven useful. I do try to cover topics from different angles, and to be fair, probably have more time than doctors to do so!
      Hopefully it will just be a passing thing for you.
      Take care,

    • Hi Crystal

      It’s your choice then whether to see someone about it or not. If it is very short lasting each time, then it may not be such an issue. But if you are doing it at length most nights, then it could be good to get a professional opinion. Not least to ensure your teeth don’t get damaged over time. And don’t forget to try my heating idea!
      All the best, and let me know if you do find out more about why it’s happening to you exactly.

      • Hi. I also chatter when I fall asleep. It’s not cold, I’m not anxious, I don’t clench or grind my teeth but every night when I fall asleep I click my teeth at random intervals (chatter)for several minutes until I am in deep sleep and then it stops. Occasionally I can feel myself do this but most of the time not. I wouldn’t know about it at all if it weren’t for my husband. I asked him if it was every time I fell asleep and he said yes. Every time for the last 7 years anyway…

        • Hi Teddi,

          Thanks for your comment. Has this damaged your teeth at all during all those years, or does it not happen enough to do any real damage? Do you have any thoughts on what could be causing it, considering you’re able to rule out a few key possibilities?

        • Hi Teddi, I go through the same exact thing you just explained. I found out through my husband too. He says I do it every night. I didn’t do this before. It started happening a few months ago.

  • i never knew that i chatter my teeth in my sleep no one has ever told me recently I’ve been sleeping with my boyfriend and he has noticed that these past two months that i have stayed with him that i chatter my teeth. that i do it everyday when im sleeping, kinda maybe me scared but maybe its because its cold?

    • Hi Crystal

      Thanks for your comment. You could definitely try and eliminate the cold possibility by turning up your thermostat for a couple of nights and see if it stops. But it seems unlikely that you would sleep if it’s so cold your teeth are chattering. And is it definitely the faster chattering, and not slower grinding, which is something different?


  • I have it a lot when I’m nervous, excited or in pain and sometimes when i am very tired. And all the reasons you told here above when I’m afraid etc. I actually have it a lot.

    • Hi Sahra

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I’m sorry to hear you experience teeth chattering symptoms so often. Have you found anything that helps? Hopefully this article might help in some small way:-)

      Best wishes

    • I have found its happening more often now than it ever has. Such as when I try to explain something. Or as trivial as answering my phone. I worry as I know that after having a brain hemorrhage 5yrs ago to which there was no explanation. Only advice given when leaving hospital to live as stress free a life as possible. Could anxiety stress cause it again.
      I have searched this before & never found such a clear & helpful response. Thank you I will visit my dr soon

      • Hi Donna,

        Thanks for your comment, and I’m glad you found the article helpful. The thing with stress and anxiety is that they’re often a lot harder to both detect and avoid than we think. And we’re not always the best judge of whether we are stressed or not!
        I think with your history, it might be worth talking to your doctor and getting their advice. But also perhaps take it as a warning sign that you’re maybe not living as stress-free a life as you could be. If you can, maybe have a think about doing some extra things you don’t already, such as relaxation techniques or some self-pampering now and again.
        All the best

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