Do you find yourself feeling more stressed out lately? With everything going on the world, you’re definitely not alone. However, your Livonia, MI, dentist understands that with a higher level of stress in our daily life, comes a greater risk of teeth grinding. How do you avoid bruxism and protect your smile from damage?
The Link Between Elevated Anxiety and Teeth Grinding
When we experience higher than normal levels of stress, this could cause us to grind and clench our teeth in our sleep. Other factors behind bruxism include tooth loss, dental misalignment, bite imbalance, TMJ disorder, or even an injury to your jaw or face. When we grind our teeth, this places pressure on the smile that could wear down tooth structure or even crack and chip a tooth. The damage then exposes the inner tooth structure to bacteria and allows cavities or infection to develop. Which means preserving your smile’s health and stability hinges on preventing bruxism, or taking steps to alleviate severity until we can see you again for treatment.
Warning Signs of Bruxism
For some, a significant other may alert them to their nightly teeth grinding. Otherwise, they may need to watch for symptoms that occur during waking hours, such as migraines or headaches, jaw and facial pain, or even tooth sensitivity and toothaches. If you have pain in your teeth, this qualifies as a dental emergency and we can see you for treatment to address the decay or infection behind your discomfort, often addressing issues in as little as one visit.
When we can see you again, we may take a series of impressions and measurements of the smile to create an oral appliance. Worn as you sleep, the device will reposition the jaw joints to prevent bruxism, and also place a barrier between the upper and lower sets of teeth to prevent further damage. We could also repair worn down structure with dental bonding or possibly a dental crown. At home, you can help reduce the strain and stress by avoiding caffeinated products, or hard and chewy foods and snacks. A warm washcloth against the side of the face could alleviate strain as well. To lower stress, try to find time to take breaks, perform breathing exercises or work out, or even take a walk outside (practicing social distancing of course). Others benefit from a regular sleep schedule, or making a schedule to help them manage their new tasks and routine.
DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT BRUXISM?
We want to help people avoid the damage and dangers of untreated teeth grinding. For more information on protecting the health and stability of your smile, or to schedule a consultation, call the office of James Stewart, DDS in Livonia, MI, today at (734) 425-4400.