We are living in turbulent times and that can have an impact on your dental health. One common response to stress is grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw. A lot of times this behavior manifests unconsciously – you don’t necessarily know you’re doing it, or you may be doing it while you’re asleep. Some people grind their teeth regularly, while others do so only during times when they feel extremely stressed.
Grinding your teeth can damage them and cause you pain. In many cases, tooth grinding – also known as bruxism – is mild and any subsequent pain will go away with time. However, if the behavior continues, so will the pain. Grinding your teeth can aggravate the joints in your jaw, leading to a condition known as TMJ. TMJ is painful, and the pain can extend beyond your jaw into your ear. Some people experience headaches associated with TMJ.
If this sounds familiar, you’ll want to visit your South Shore dentist. In addition to behavior changes, which can be tricky to consistently implement while you’re asleep, your Quincy dentist may recommend prescription muscle relaxers and the use of a mouth guard. This mouth guard is worn at night to protect your teeth.
Be aware that tooth grinding can damage your teeth. Teeth can be chipped, cracked, or even broken by tooth grinding. Here in Quincy, we’ve even seen patients who have lost teeth due to tooth grinding. This damage can impact the way you eat, talk, and experience daily life, or it may be a cosmetic issue. In today’s appearance conscious society, it’s important to have a great smile, so you’ll want to have your Quincy cosmetic dentist address any issues promptly.
It is a good idea to explore stress management techniques that can help you re-route some of the pressure you’re putting on your teeth. Popular strategies include physical exercise, particularly outdoors, as well as meditation and spending time with friends.