Stress in Your Life May Lead to Jaw Clenching and Teeth Grinding

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Stressful events and situations occur in everybody’s life at one time or another. It may come from your job or personal life. Stress materializes in different ways for different people. One common way that it appears is problematic for your oral health.

When you become nervous, for any reason, clenching of the jaw and grinding of the teeth becomes a way that the mind and body try to relieve stress–but this is not good. Bruxism is the medical term. You may not realize when you are doing it. The jaw clenching generally happens during the day, and would be most noticeable, while teeth grinding most often occurs when you are asleep. This makes it more difficult to catch. If you suspect you are doing this, you might ask a friend or family member to monitor you at night. Another modern option would be to set up a camera to record it for confirmation.

An obvious sign that this is potential problem is sore jaw muscles when you wake. Also, if this has been going on for some time, your teeth may become sensitive to hot and cold temperatures due to the wearing down of the enamel on the teeth. You may need to see your dentist to fully confirm that clenching and grinding is the issue. Your dentist can determine if you have worn the enamel down on your teeth, or if there are micro-fractures, cracks or chips. If so, he my prescribe a mouthguard to wear when you sleep, or suggest anti-anxiety medication if you reveal that you’re undergoing a stressful period in your life.

If you need an evaluation for teeth clenching or grinding, Dr. Matthew Warlick would be happy to help you. Please contact Contemporary Dental Arts to make an appointment at: 918-459-9090, or come by our office in Tulsa, Oklahoma.