Stressing Out Your Teeth?

Do you wake up with a dull headache, sore jaw and/or muscles? Do you see fine “cracks” in your teeth? Do you find yourself grinding or clenching your teeth? Are your teeth sensitive? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be stressing out your teeth.

Stress is a major cause of people grinding or clenching their teeth. Teeth are attached to the jaw bone by tiny, little ligaments or “shock absorbers”. When constant pressure is applied to the teeth by clenching, these ligaments become inflamed, causing a tooth ache. In addition, between the jaw bone and the skull is a disc which becomes compressed and inflamed due to the clenching. This disc inflammation often causes a headache and sometimes an ear ache. All of the facial muscles are attached or related to the jaw bone; therefore, the constant tension may also induce a headache. These interrelationships are affected if stress is placed on any of these structures. ใบเจียร

Clenching or grinding of teeth, referred to as bruxism, often happens while sleeping. Bruxism may also be caused by sleep disorders, an abnormal bite, or teeth that are missing or crooked. Severe or long term bruxism can lead to sensitivity, fractures, or mobility of teeth.

What are some solutions to bruxism? The most obvious, but most difficult, is to alleviate stress from our lives. Other alternatives include occlusal bite or night guards, physical therapy, muscle relaxants, counseling, and exercise.

Your dentist can diagnose bruxism with an exam and x-rays. Once diagnosed, your dentist can fit you with an occlusal guard to protect your teeth while sleeping. The guard prevents the upper and lower jaws from closing, keeping the teeth separated. If the teeth are not permitted to clench, the facial muscles will be more relaxed. The guard acts as a crutch allowing inflammation of the jaw structures to go down. As inflammation decreases, the headaches and jaw pain decrease.

 

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