Did you know that anxiety disorders affect just about 1 in 6 American adults? The most well-known include panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and social anxiety disorder. Many people don’t know how much these disorders take a toll on our bodies—even our smiles!
Research shows that one of the coping methods our body does when under high levels of stress is teeth grinding (bruxism). Bruxism can severely decline your oral health and cause dental pain. If you’re stressed and notice a bad teeth grinding habit, you should get help from your dentist in Fort Worth as soon as possible.
What Starts the Teeth Grinding Habit?
At Dental Center of Westport, we’ve seen many factors that can create a bruxism habit—it’s not always just stress. But, stress and anxiety are believed to be leading causes along with a misaligned bite, missing teeth, and sleeping disorders like obstructive sleep apnea. Some medications—especially antidepressants—can also trigger episodes of teeth grinding.
Should I Be Concerned?
Teeth grinding may be a common issue, but it’s still an issue nonetheless. Because the stresses of bruxism add extra pressure on your jaw, your teeth can start to crack and chip. If you ignore the habit for too long, it can result in jawbone loss and missing teeth.
How Do I Know I Have a Problem?
Many patients think, “How can I treat a problem I do subconsciously?” In many cases, your dentist will be able to see evidence of bruxism in your dental X-rays and by the appearance of your teeth during your dental appointments. You may begin to notice symptoms like waking up with a sore jaw, persistent headaches in the morning, or if a loved one actually hears your teeth grinding while you sleep.
How Can a Dentist Help Me?
Dentists can offer an effective way to treat your bruxism. If your dentist determines stress is the primary cause, they’ll likely recommend you reduce your consumption of caffeine and alcohol. Also, they can give helpful advice like suggest ways to perform some type of daily relaxation—whether that be exercise or mediation—whatever works best for you. Even something as simple as a warm bath before sleeping can help patients reduce their stress levels.
Then, your dentist will create a custom nightguard for you to protect your teeth from further damage while you sleep. This protective device is easy to wear. Contrary to what you may believe, won’t be uncomfortable to sleep in.
Your dentist can also look into prescribing you a NTI-tss. This stands for Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibition. Nociceptors react when the body is being harmed, so every time you start to grind your teeth, the NTI-tss can interrupt the tug between your jaws and the temporal muscles.
How Can I Start My Treatment?
If you’ve been noticing jaw pain and have new stressors in your life, your body may be trying to cope with your new responsibilities. Don’t let teeth grinding negatively affect the quality of your life. Getting treatment for bruxism is as easy scheduling an appointment with your local dentist.
About Our Office
If you suffer from bruxism, migraines, or jaw pain, your dental experts are here to help you. We have three trained professionals that can combine their expertise to offer the best treatment options for our patients. If you have questions about bruxism, feel free to call our office and get the help your smile deserves!