The newsLINK Group - Teeth Grinding and Stress

Editorial Library Category: General Business | Dental | General Dentistry Topics: Dental, Teeth Grinding Title: Teeth Grinding and Stress Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Teeth grinding is an informal name for the condition that occurs when you clench or grind your teeth. The official name is bruxism. Although it can occur day or night, it presents a bigger problem at night because it occurs when you are unconscious. Editorial: Teeth Grinding and Stress 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Understanding Teeth Grinding Teeth grinding is an informal name for the condition that occurs when you clench or grind your teeth. The official name is bruxism. Although it can occur day or night, it presents a bigger problem at night because it occurs when you are unconscious. Underlying Causes Doctors don’t know all of the reasons why someone begins grinding their teeth, but here some important ones: Dental problems can cause you to grind your teeth. Some likely culprits are spaces between your teeth, crooked teeth, teeth that are just not aligned correctly, and teeth that are worn down. Dentists can use crowns and bridges to correct some of the problems. Orthodontics might be another option. Some people grind their teeth because they are really stressed or depressed. You can approach stress relief in two ways. One way is to practice relaxation techniques. If that isn’t enough, or if the stress is connected to pain and soreness in the jaws and teeth or other parts of the body, then it may become necessary to use medications. Diet (especially accompanied by eating disorders), posture, and sleeping habits can also play a role. The Negative Consequences Grinding your teeth isn’t like chewing. It involves more pressure, and can inflict more damage. If you suffer from grinding your teeth, the most obvious problem is that your jaw is going to get tired and sore from being clenched. In addition: You can have a hard time opening or closing your mouth. Your teeth may become more sensitive as a result of the pressure. The sensitivity can be to heat, cold, and sugar. Teeth may also become worn or flattened, and they can chip at the gum line. You can develop pain in the jaw joint, which is more formally called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The pain may actually be related to jaw-joint damage. The bone around your teeth can also be damaged. You might experience earaches because of something called referred pain, which occurs when you feel pain somewhere other than the actual source. The TMJ is close to the ear canal. Bruxism can be noisy enough to interfere with your sleep. You might even wake up a spouse or suffer insomnia. Stopping the Problem When treating bruxism, the dentist wants to reduce your pain, protect your teeth from damage, and help you stop as much as possible. Dentists use many approaches when it comes to helping people with teeth grinding: The first step is to help people deal with the stress in their lives, with or without medication. Learning to relax muscles in the face and jaw consciously can help. Applying wet heat or ice can help. So can massage. A good massage focusing on the neck, shoulders, and face can relax the painful trigger points. Someone who suffers with bruxism should avoid foods that are hard and that need a lot of chewing, should drink a lot of water, and should also get sufficient sleep. If these measures fail or are not appropriate, another popular option is for the person to use a splint. These are made of plastic, can fit on the upper or lower teeth, and may be hard or soft. In order to have one made, the dentist makes impressions of your teeth and uses the resulting model to have a splint made. The patient then tries on the result, and the dentist adjusts it. You may want to have a dentist or orthodontist fix any dental problems that might be contributing to the teeth grinding. Surgery may be a last resort. Since teeth grinding can have so many negative consequences, it is important to work with a dentist to solve

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