Your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is responsible for connecting the lower jaw to the upper jaw and the skull. Pain in this area can cause tenderness in your jaw muscles, jaw clicking, earaches, and headaches. This can disrupt your daily activities. If you want to know how your dentist can help with your TMJ pain, here…
Stress, Anxiety and Teeth Grinding
More than 70% of teeth grinding cases happen because of anxiety or stress. Generally, you will grind your teeth while you are asleep. However, some teeth grinding can happen during the day. Read on to learn more about teeth grinding.
Why stress causes teeth grinding
Stress is a demand that is placed on the body or the brain. People might feel stressed when several demands are placed at the same time. This can lead to anxiety about completing the requests in time. Sometimes, people who cannot identify stress factors in their life feel anxious. While some types of stress can help individuals get a job done, too much stress is unhealthy.
There are several factors that can cause stress. For example, moving or starting a new job can both be factors. Many people experience stress at work. Life events such as marriage, having a baby or having a family member pass away can all cause stress.
During a stressful time, an individual’s sympathetic nervous system is active. This can cause a “fight or flight” response. This can inhibit the digestive and immune systems, preventing the body from working properly. Because the functions are not working properly, the body may cause involuntary movements during sleep. This can include teeth grinding.
A person may not feel stressed or anxious emotionally but still have teeth grinding. The body may be stressed during the night without the patient knowing it. The most common example of this is a sleep disorder. In a breathing sleep disorder, the body will become stressed during sleep. Like emotional stress, this activates the sympathetic nervous system, which causes the “fight or flight” response.
Generally, patients will not know that they have a teeth-grinding problem. It happens while the patients are sleeping. A roommate or partner may hear grinding sounds at night. A dentist may also notice teeth damage caused by grinding. This can help with diagnosis.
Treating stress and anxiety
For teeth grinding that is caused by anxiety or stress, treating the stress can be helpful. Often, stress can be managed at home. Diet, exercise, and taking time to relax can all be helpful. Patients can look for factors that cause stress and work to avoid them.
Sometimes, patients will need to see a mental health care provider such as a therapist. A therapist can help a patient talk through the causes of stress and anxiety. This is what is known as talk therapy. Some types of medications can also help reduce anxiety and stress. If these methods do not work, a dentist may recommend that a patient take a muscle relaxant.
Visit a dentist today
Continuing to have regular dental checkups is vital when it comes to the health of your teeth. On your own, you may not notice the symptoms of teeth grinding. However, a dentist is trained to look for the little signs. Getting treatment as soon as your dentist notices symptoms can prevent future problems.
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