Don’t Let Stress Wear Down Your Teeth

Have you ever heard of teeth grinding? It’s more common than you think. Bruxism is the more technical term, referring to the habit of grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw. Surprisingly enough, bruxism affects millions of Americans, both adults and children, whether they know it or not. Many people with this condition do not find out they have it until the dental damage is already done, since they are usually grinding their teeth or clenching their jaw as they sleep. Thus, bruxism is often an act that is entirely subconscious.

Bruxers, as people with bruxism are called, can also experience aches in facial muscles; this is a small indicator that you may be clenching or grinding. It is important to recognize the signs early because bruxism can be extremely detrimental to your teeth, provoking fracturing, shattering, or sensitivity caused by wearing down your teeth’s enamel.

 

What are the symptoms?

  1. Worn, broken, or chipped teeth
  2. Your partner noticing you grinding your teeth in your sleep
  3. Popping or clicking jaws
  4. Inability to fully open and close your mouth
  5. Tingling in fingers
  6. Chronic migraines, headaches, or earaches

 

 What causes bruxism?

Bruxism is most frequently caused by a misalignment of the temporomandibular joints (TMJs). These joints are what keep your jaw attached to your skull. This condition is called TMJ dysfunction and is often linked with obstructive sleep apnea and stress. Sleep apnea and TMJ dysfunction go hand in hand in 90% of cases, therefore treating sleep apnea can also reduce or resolve bruxism.

 

What are the treatments?

Aside from the correlation of sleep apnea and TMJ dysfunction, a separate oral appliance for bruxism can be worn while sleeping to stop your teeth from grinding. This appliance alleviates stressed jaw muscles and nerves. However, if tooth wear is already extensive, then it is wise to have your back teeth rebuilt with crowns in order to recreate a healthy bite. Once that is done, your jaw will sit in a proper position. Another method would include easing your stress with exercises to break your habits.

Our doctor, Dr. DeFinnis does a complete evaluation before recommending a treatment that suits your specific needs. Just like every bite is different, every treatment depends on the patient. In order to learn more about sleep apnea, be sure to be on the lookout for our next blog! At Wynnewood Dental Arts, we also offer sleep dentistry in Haverford, PA and sedation dentistry in Haverford, PA.

Info Article, Snoring Cessation, TMJ & Headaches