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Is the stress eating your teeth??

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

Worn out teeth is a problem we are seeing more and more often at the dental offices, so we want to discuss it with our patients and shed some light on the matter.

The scientific name is Bruxism, and it describes the involuntary movement of the jaw and the subsequent grind, clench, gnash of your teeth, that can produce a loud uncomfortable noise to you or those around you. Basically, it is the stress wearing and eating your teeth away.

Bruxism may occur while you are awake or asleep, and most of the time the person may not be really aware of it. It may happen at any age, but since kids are rapidly growing and changing, they usually outgrow the habit, unfortunately it is more damaging for adults.

Here are some symptoms to help you find out if you are grinding your teeth:

-Increased teeth pain or sensitivity

-Tired, sore jaw muscles

-locked jaw, difficulty fully opening or closing your mouth

-Pain on the neck, ear or lateral sides of the head

Imagine how tired those muscles are if they have been active all night!!! that's why they cause all these symptoms, and definitely that means you are not resting all you may need during sleep.

There are also relevant signs to look for:

-Flattened cusps, shortened teeth, sometimes fractured or chipped, even loose teeth

-Exposed dentin, which is the second layer under the enamel

-Damaged tissue from chewing on the inside of your cheek

Several studies about this problem have revealed different causes of Bruxism, including Stress, Anxiety, Sleep Disorders, Abnormal bite, missing or crooked teeth. It has also been suggested that abusing alcohol, caffeine, or smoking can be triggering factors of teeth grinding.

A healthy life style is definitely a good starting point to tackle this bad habit: exercising to release stress, a positive mindset, a good sleep pattern. If that is not enough to tame that wild anxiety, then look for professional help. As dentists we can fabricate an sleep appliance to protect your teeth, open up your bite and reduce the jaw clenching, or evaluate the need of a muscle relaxant pill. For severe cases difficult to get under control, maybe the use of Botox in selected jaw muscles would be appropriate.

Just don't wait too long until your teeth get severely worn, that reduces your treatment options and increases the price to fix them.

If you have any questions or concerns about the topic, please call us at 713-364-8304, or visit us at 19732 Hwy 249, Houston, TX.


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