The holiday season will create a significant amount of stress for individuals over the next two months. While this time can have many enjoyable elements, the stress produced by gift-buying, school assignments, work projects, family, and more can all contribute to bruxism. What is bruxism? This is the condition in which you clench and grind your teeth throughout the day and night. This clenching and grinding can become disruptive and lead to body pain and tooth sensitivity. If you believe you suffer from bruxism, read on to learn more about the symptoms and treatments, and schedule a consultation with your dentist as soon as possible.
The Symptoms of Bruxism
The gradual appearance of mild to moderate head and neck pain, jaw pain, and sensitive teeth can signal that you are suffering from bruxism. Some people only suffer from short bouts of bruxism, but if you routinely experience the following symptoms, you should contact your dentist immediately:
-Worn tooth enamel
-Face pain rooted at the jawline
-Headache located at your temple
-Sores from chewing or biting inside of your cheek
-Grinding teeth during sleep
Potential Consequences of Bruxism
If untreated, stress grinding and bruxism can lead to more severe conditions that require extensive and often expensive care to resolve. These conditions include:
-Damaged teeth: stress grinding can chip, crack, or wear down teeth
-TMJ: This disorder causes pain in the jaw, head, and neck areas and can make it difficult for you to open and close your mouth naturally, and can produce jaw muscle spasms.
-Sleep disturbances: bruxism is the third-most frequent abnormal sleep behavior and can deprive you of sleep leading you to be exhausted throughout your day.
If your dentist believes you have bruxism, they will perform an exam and evaluate your teeth for the following signs:
-Damage to the teeth, the bone that supports them, and the soft tissues of your mouth
–Pain and tenderness in the jaw area
-Dental abnormalities like broken, worn-down, or missing teeth
Your visit may also include X-rays to help your dentist spot any changes to your teeth since your last visit.
Potential Treatments for Stress Grinding
Adults who grind their teeth long enough to cause damage have a few treatment options to explore. These options include dental protection devices, like mouth guards and splints, and corrected dental treatment plans to realign teeth. Realigning teeth may require braces, or in severe cases, oral surgery.
If stress is the primary cause of your bruxism, you may consider using a therapist specializing in stress management and behavior therapy. Sometimes medication like muscle relaxant may help control your teeth grinding.
This holiday season, don’t let stress grind you—or your teeth—down.
Keep Your Smile Healthy with Affinity
While these tips can help with some tooth and gum sensitivity issues, we know the best way of correcting the problem is to visit your dentist regularly. Affinity Dental, located in Catonsville, MD, has six dentists and provides a variety of services from pediatric dentistry to orthodontics. Affinity Dental is capable of meeting all your needs. With 170 combined years of treating a variety of dental needs, Affinity is committed to providing quality dental care. To get your teeth back into good health and make your smile bright, call us at 410-719-7900 or contact us online. For other useful tips on dental care follow us on Facebook and Twitter.