Stress is an unfortunate fact of life and we all suffer from stress from time to time. However, when stress becomes too much, we often manifest our emotions into physical actions as a coping mechanism. For example, when under duress some folks may fidget or worse, clench or grind their teeth. Not only does stress affect your physical and emotional wellbeing, it affects your oral health, too – especially your teeth and TMJ (the temporomandibular joint). If stress has taken a toll on your oral health, our dentist can help with restorative dental treatments and protective oral appliances such as night guards.
Bruxism and Stress
Many patients develop a habit of clenching or grinding their teeth (also known as bruxism) as a response to stress. Bruxism is incredibly destructive, mainly because it leads to unnecessary contact between the upper and lower sets of teeth. When clenching or grinding, force is applied to teeth and teeth may scrape against one another. Over time, this will wear down tooth enamel – leaving teeth vulnerable to dental caries or fracturing.
Since teeth cannot heal themselves after they have been damaged, patients with tooth wear will require restorations such as crowns or fillings. Restorative dentistry will correct misshapen teeth and protect existing tooth structure from more damage.
Preventing Bruxism with Night Guards
As bruxism becomes habitual, many people will start clenching and grinding their teeth throughout the day and even during sleep. In addition to damaging teeth, bruxism strains the facial muscles and ligaments as well as the TMJ. This stress can lead to decreased oral function and TMJ disorder. Fortunately, there is a solution to protect your teeth and TMJ while sleeping. Our dentist can prescribe custom night guards – an oral appliance that is worn over the teeth at night. Similar to a sports mouth guard, this type of oral appliance is soft and comfortable yet durable enough to prevent teeth from scraping against one another. Additionally, a mouth guard can hold the jaws in their rightful position to relieve strain on the TMJ.
To learn more about your treatment options, contact the office of Dr. Amy M. Durisin. Call 714-543-1170 today to schedule your visit.