Why Stress Might Be Causing You Dental Problems
February 1, 2018
Let’s face it. Living in today’s world, with all its gizmos and gadgets can be overwhelming sometimes. And at the end of a stressful day, there’s nothing more relaxing than lying down in a nice, warm bed and drifting off to sleep.
Unless, that is, you’re carrying that stress with you into dreamland.
For roughly one in 10 Americans, sleep is marked by nighttime bruxism, or teeth grinding and jaw clenching. And although the exact drivers of bruxism can vary from person to person, stress often is a large contributor. Whatever the cause, bruxism can rob you of restful sleep, resulting in morning headaches and jaw pain.
What’s more, years of bruxism can take a toll on your teeth, wearing down the enamel and causing your teeth to take on a short appearance. Because enamel protects your teeth from decay, bruxism can also leave your smile vulnerable to cavities and hypersensitivity.
Luckily, if you’re looking for comfortable bruxism solutions in Fort Worth, TX, you can find them at Alliance Dental Care! We can even restore a smile that has been damaged by habitual teeth grinding. Call us at 817-270-6100 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Karr and his compassionate staff.
In the meantime, read on to learn more about how we can work together to eliminate the symptoms and consequences of bruxism.
Stop the grinding with a custom night guard
One of the most common ways that dentists help their patients stop grinding their teeth is with a custom-made night guard, which looks and feels similar to an athletic mouthguard. These appliances are comfortable and easy to use; you simply insert it before bed and wear it throughout the night. The dental device slightly adjusts your jaw to prevent you from clenching or grinding.
You may have seen over-the-counter bruxism mouthguards at your local drugstore, but there are some advantages to having one custom-made for you by a professional. For a night guard to be truly effective, it must fit properly, and the only way to ensure a flawless fit is to have its fabrication overseen by a dentist.
Not only will a night guard from Alliance Dental Care be more effective than boil-and-bite options, but it’ll be of better quality and more comfortable to wear, too.
Once the bruxism is under control, we can help you repair any damage that has occurred to your teeth with high-quality dental crowns or dental veneers.
At Alliance Dental Care, you can get everything you need in one convenient location!
How to know if you're experiencing bruxism
Not sure if you grind your teeth? Asking your sleep partner for insight might be helpful, but there are other symptoms that might help you figure it out.
Jaw pain upon waking up
A dull headache or pain that extends toward the ears
Damage to the tissue on the inside of your cheeks
Waking up frequently at night
Increased tooth sensitivity
Teeth that take on a flat appearance
If you’ve experienced any of the symptoms listed, it’s time to see the dentist. At Alliance Dental Care, Dr. Karr can quickly assess any wear that has occurred to your teeth. This will help him get a good idea of how severe the problem is so he can suggest treatment options.
Manage your stress during the day
If your bruxism is indeed fueled by stress, you might find it helpful to be more mindful of your stress during the day. Try monitoring your anxiety levels and caffeine intake during the day to help you better understand how it affects your symptoms. Stress management can also help your oral appliance treatment be more effective.
Here are some things you can do to reduce stress during the day, particularly right before bed.
Establish a normal bedtime routine.
Limit use of electronic devices an hour or two before you want to fall asleep.
Similarly, keep laptops, cell phones, and other potentially stress-inducing technology out of your bedroom.
Try deep breathing, stretching, and muscle relaxation techniques. Harvard Health Publishing has six recommended techniques that can get you started. You can find those here.
Eat a balanced diet.
Make small changes. Leave five minutes earlier to avoid the stress of being late. Make a manageable to-do list. Say “no” to unnecessary tasks.
Great dental care doesn't have to be stressful!
At Alliance Dental Care, we believe that you should be able to do something good for your oral health in a stress-free environment. We aim to make your visit a comfortable one with a physical space that is as warm and inviting as our office staff!
Plus, we offer free consultations, so you can explore your treatment options without any pressure. Call us at 817-270-6100 to schedule an appointment, or use our convenient online form.