It’s the holiday season. Many people consider this the most wonderful time of the year.
But for other people, it can be one of the most stressful times. Trying to juggle invitations from family, friends, and coworkers can be difficult. Trying to pick out gifts, much less finding time to get them, can add to that stress.
If that stress becomes too great, it can make it difficult to enjoy Christmas.
And that can take a toll on your teeth as well. Stress is one of the factors that cause many people to clench and grind their teeth. This includes millions of Americans who do this while they are asleep.
When we see the symptoms of grinding, we feel concerned for our patients in Laredo, TX.
It’s also why we offer teeth grinding treatments at Davenport Dental Group. If you are waking up with frequent headaches, sore jaws, or facial pains, it might be time to give us a call. You can reach our Junction Drive location at 956-242-6745 or our Winfield office at 956-517-2695.
Don’t let holiday stress wear down you or your smile.
Teeth Grinding And Stress
Most people who grind and clench their teeth do so subconsciously or unconsciously, as we noted earlier. If you were aware of this while it was happening, you would want to do something about it.
So why do people grind their teeth?
In some cases, it is an alignment issue. If you have teeth that are crooked or long, they can rub against other teeth when you close your bite. In many cases, teeth grinding is a kind of stress management technique, although one that is pretty bad for your teeth.
Regardless of why you are grinding your teeth together, you could be wearing down your enamel. This is the outer layer of your teeth. It’s also the hardest substance on the human body.
When your enamel becomes worn down and weak, it can make it easier for bacteria to cause other problems. This includes tooth decay, cavities, and infected teeth.
Teeth Grinding And TMJ
As we alluded to in the introduction, these problems may not be limited to your teeth.
Teeth grinding can cause TMJ disorders as well. TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint. You have two of these joints. They are found where your lower jaw attaches to your skull, and they allow you to open and close your mouth.
When you clench and grind your teeth, you are putting a lot of added pressure on your jaw as well as the tissues around your TMJ. Research has found that it’s common for teeth grinders to create 500 pounds of pressure (twice the pressure of normal bite) or more (much more in some cases) when they are grinding.
If you are worried that you may have a TMJ problem, you might have one or more of these symptoms:
▶ Frequent headaches or earaches (especially in the morning)
▶ Frequent jaw soreness or tenderness
▶ Jaw pain while eating or after finishing meals
▶ Jaw movement issues, such as not being able to fully open or close your mouth
▶ Clicking or popping when you open or close your mouth
▶ Facial soreness or tenderness
▶ Neck, shoulder, and upper back pains
Dealing With Teeth Grinding
You want to protect your teeth and reduce the symptoms that come with teeth grinding. This is something Davenport Dental Group can help you do.
We’ve made custom-designed nightguards for many of our patients. These are similar to athletic mouthguards except you wear them while you are sleeping.
A nightguard creates a barrier between your top and bottom rows of teeth so you can’t grind them into one another. The guard also keeps your jaw in a more relaxed position.
As patients adjust to wearing them, most find that they have fewer headaches, jaw pains, and related symptoms.
Help Yourself And Protect Your Teeth
If you are feeling stress in your life, we urge you to talk to a trained professional who can help you deal with those issues. Our patients have told us that therapy, exercise, and meditation are just some of the ways that they have learned to cope with and reduce the stress in their lives.
In the meantime, make an appointment for a checkup at Davenport Dental Group to protect your teeth from the effects of teeth grinding. You can contact us online or call either of our locations, 956-242-6745 for Junction Drive or 956-517-2695 for Winfield.