Stressed? What Teeth Grinding Means for Your Dental Health

Busy work schedules, kids, financials…almost anything can lead to a stressful day.  According to a survey published the American Psychological Association, over 60% of American adults are under continual stress throughout the year.  The same survey states that more than half of those who are stressed receive little to no support for stress management from their health care providers.

We often see patients who suffer from teeth grinding, also known as bruxism.  While most people experience mild cases of teeth grinding, which typically include jaw cleaning, in other cases bruxism during sleep can be serious and may cause other health issues.  Many do not even realize the irreversible damage that clenching and/or grinding is doing to their teeth while they sleep!

What are the symptoms of bruxism?
Clenching the teeth puts pressure on the muscles, tissues, and other structures around your jaw.  Some people clench their teeth and never feel symptoms.  Others experience a variety of symptoms or impacts including:

  • Headachces
  • Increased temperature sensitivity
  • Facial pain
  • Dislocation of the jaw
  • A popping or clicking in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • Damage the inside of the cheek
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Wearing away of tooth enamel

How can I stop grinding my teeth?
Although it may be easier said than done, reducing your stress levels before bed the best away to significantly reduce teeth grinding and clenching.  Also, removing caffeine and alcohol from your diet can make it easier to fall asleep at night by relaxing your mind and the muscles of your jaw.

If the above suggestions do not work for you, a nightguard or NTI split device would be immensely beneficial to both your dental and overall health.  Dr. Sioda does both types of devices in our office!

dual-flex nightguard combines the comfort of a soft splint and the accuracy and adjustability of a hard split.  It is custom made to fit over all of your teeth on either the upper or lower arch.  The base of the dual-flex nightguard becomes flexible at mouth temperature, eliminating uncomfortable forces on the teeth or gums.  The hard biting surface makes it extremely durable to strong forces of the jaw.

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