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Walker & Krause Dental Blog

Stress Can Make the Effects of Bruxism Worse

Stress levels are the strongest predictor of bruxism, implicated in 70% of cases (The Bruxism Association). Most people can grind and clench their jaw here or there. Occasional teeth grinding, medically called bruxism, it rarely causes harm, but when you start teeth grinding regularly, the teeth can be damaged and other oral health complications can arise. As the pace of life increases and an intense battle on social media to look happy rages on, stress is an increasingly important concern.

Why Grinding Is Harmful

Sometimes, chronic teeth grinding can cause a fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. If you have crowns or fillings, it’s common to grind to a point they become loose and fall off. The chronic grinding may wear teeth down to stumps or create flat patches. When these events happen, bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, partial dentures, and even complete dentures may be needed. Not only can severe grinding damage teeth and result in tooth loss, but it can also affect your jaws, and even change the appearance of your face.

What to Do to Stop Grinding

Our office will start with getting you fitted with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep. If stress is causing you to grind your teeth, some other options include stress counseling, starting an exercise program, seeing a physical therapist, or obtaining a prescription for muscle relaxants are among some options that may be offered. Other tips that are helpful are to avoid or cut back foods or drinks that have caffeine before bed. Avoid alcohol. Grinding has been found to be much worse after consuming alcoholic beverages.

Just how useful medications can be for helping with bruxism has yet to be proven in research. However, muscles relaxants and even Botox injections have shown promise as temporary antidotes for teeth grinding teeth when it’s not caused by a medication. They are also effective as an add-on treatment when your medications are causing the problem. Regardless of the cause, it is an important first to treat it so it won’t continue damaging your teeth. Start the process by calling us today so we can get you fitted with a comfortable mouthpiece. From there we can start down the path to discovering how to de-stress and reduce the grinding in the future.