How do you cope with stress?
People respond to anxiety in a lot of ways. Some people exercise. Some people eat, drink, or smoke.
And some people grind their teeth together.
At Atlanta West Dentistry, we see patients nearly every day who show signs of teeth grinding. This concerns everyone in our dentist office. We want all our patients in Marietta and the surrounding areas to keep their teeth as healthy as possible.
When you clench or grind your teeth it can have a detrimental effect on your teeth and on your life.
Why People Grind Their Teeth
One of the biggest reasons people grind their teeth together is stress.
When your boss calls you into the office to criticize something you’ve done or to add more to your workload, it can be frustrating. It’s one of those moments when you may want to say something. Instead, you bite your tongue figuratively by literally clenching your teeth.
You may be using teeth grinding as a subconscious way of channeling your anger and frustration in the moment so you don’t do or say something that could get you fired.
Emotions are just one thing that can cause bruxism (the technical term for grinding or clenching your teeth).
You also may grind you teeth as a side effect to medicine, as a complication of a disease, or as a result of an alignment problem between your upper and lower teeth.
Many people grind or clench their teeth in their sleep, which means it’s something you can do unconsciously, too.
Symptoms Of Teeth Grinding
When you come to our office for a cleaning and examination, we will look for evidence of teeth grinding. The most obvious sign will be that your teeth are worn down.
This can cause your teeth to appear flattened or fractured.
All of your teeth are covered with enamel, which is the hardest substance on the human body. Enamel is there to protect your teeth from the bacteria.
Wearing away just some of your enamel can increase your risk of developing tooth decay.
In some cases, you may grind your teeth so hard that pieces chip off.
Some of the other symptoms of bruxism might not be so obvious. If you are experiencing any of these problems, please mention them to your dentist or hygienist during your next visit.
- Tooth sensitivity (to hot, cold, or sweets)
- Jaw or facial pain
- Tenderness in your jaw
- Limited movement of your jaw
- Inability to open or close your jaw
- Frequent headaches
If you experience these problems in the morning, this could indicate that you are clenching or grinding your teeth in your sleep.
When you grind your teeth, you are putting added pressure on your temporomandibular joint, also known as your TMJ.
This joint is located below your ears, where your jawbone connects to your skull. This is the joint that allows you to open and close your mouth.
When you put added pressure on this joint, you can develop a TMJ disorder or TMD.
This can affect your joint, as well as the muscles and tendons that connect to your TMJ. This is why your pain can spread to your ears, faces, head, neck and shoulders.
How To Stop Grinding Your Teeth
If your teeth grinding is directly related to stress or anxiety, sometimes learning new ways to cope with stress can help.
Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. That’s when we can help.
One of the ways we help patients with bruxism and TMJ problems is by making a mouthguard. This is something you can wear during the day or while you are sleeping.
The mouthguard does two things that can help alleviate your problem and its symptoms.
First, the mouthguard prevents your top and bottom teeth from touching. This means you can’t grinding or clench them against one another.
Second, the mouthguard holds your jaw in a different position. As you get used to wearing it, your jaw will feel more relaxed, which will ease the pressure on your TMJ and the surrounding muscles and tendons.
No Need To Keep Suffering
If you know or believe that you may be grinding your teeth, please make an appointment at our dentist office in Marietta, GA. We want to stop your problems before they get any worse.
You should not keep living with headaches, earaches, and soreness in your jaw, face, neck, or shoulders.