Life can be stressful at times – and the search for stress relief is common.
Meditation, walking, yoga …can all be helpful when dealing with stress and anxiety. Sometimes, however, you may find yourself clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth during times of stress. This is called Bruxism, and it affects approximately 40 million children and adults in the U.S.
You may do it only during sleep (nocturnal bruxism) or you may grind and clench your teeth during the day. You may not even aware that you’re doing it. Severe bruxism can break dental fillings or damage teeth. When teeth rub together, the outer layers of tooth enamel can wear away and teeth can become sensitive. You may also find that you wake with a dull headache or experience facial or jaw pain (TMJ).
Even though some experts view bruxism as nothing more than a habit, it may be a result of the body’s reaction if teeth do not line up or come together properly. Bruxism also can be a symptom of diseases of the facial nerves and muscles. In rare cases, bruxism may be a side effect of some medicines that treat depression, such as Prozac and Paxil.
If you think you may be grinding or clenching your teeth more that usual, call us to schedule a consultation appointment. We will talk to you about your general health, the sources of your stress, your sleep habits and what medicines you currently take. We will examine the surfaces of your teeth, their alignment, and look for tenderness in your jaw and facial muscles. We may
also take x-rays.
If your bruxism is stress-related, research strategies to help you relax. It may also help to cut your intake of caffeine. At StarWhite Dental, we typically prescribe a night guard – an appliance worn while you sleep that is designed to relax your jaw muscles and prevent your teeth from wearing down. If you wake with sore facial muscles, weakness or jaw pain, you would be a good candidate for a night guard.
Don’t continue to gnash and clench and grind!
Call for an appointment, today: (951) 698-4426.