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  • Is Stress Affecting Your Teeth? Cosmetic Orthodontics Can Help

    Have you found yourself gritting your teeth a lot during the day or perhaps you’ve been waking up recently with an aching jaw or sore teeth? If you are stressed then it’s just possible teeth grinding is affecting your dental health. Stress can manifest itself in a number of different ways and clenching and teeth gritting habits are quite common and are often associated with sleep deprivation or times of excessive stress. This is a habit that is often subconscious and may only be noticed by a sleeping partner or by your dentist when you visit the Cosmetic Dentistry Center. Cosmetic orthodontics can help treating this condition.

    Parafunctional Habits Affect Your Dental Health

    One of the problems with clenching and gritting or grinding your teeth is that this is a habit that is called parafunctional. Where the biting forces are increased in both their frequency and magnitude and they may be up to 10 times more forceful than normal. This is why this habit, called bruxism, can be so damaging for teeth. Parafunctional habits can also affect your dental health in other ways, such as leading to other stress related habits that include biting your nails or pencils or pens or which may result from abnormal tongue posture habits.

    How Is Bruxism Related to Stress?

    The excessive forces created during bruxism can result in your jaw muscles and joints going into spasm and feeling extremely painful. This pain can manifest itself as earache, neck or shoulder ache, or even as backache or chronic headaches. The effects on your teeth can be considerable, resulting in excessive wear and tear that may end up with them becoming fractured or chipped or worn down, or even loose. (Learn What to Do in Dental Emergency). Everyone reacts to stress slightly differently and bruxism tends to be seen in people who are currently undergoing a stressful period in their life or where they are intending to make a major change to their life. Even a nice event such as a wedding can end up causing this stress related problem.

    Finding out What Can Be Done to Help This Problem

    The most obvious thing to try and do is to reduce your stress levels but this isn’t always possible. In the meantime the main thing is to relieve the symptoms and to limit the damage being done to your teeth and jaws. There are various ways to do this as sometimes mild inflammatory and muscle relaxant medications can help relieve muscle spasms. Some people may find medication to assist them in sleeping properly is useful, even when just used temporarily and jaw pain can be helped with the use of cold or warm compresses.

    Custom-Made Night Guards as Means of Cosmetic Orthodontics

    Our dentists here at the Cosmetic Dentistry Center can also provide practical help with cosmetic orthodontics by making a custom-made night guard or splint. This is generally made from a hard acrylic and looks a little like a tooth whitening tray. It is relatively unobtrusive and is only a few millimeters in thickness. The night guard is worn over your upper teeth so that your lower teeth cannot bite or grind against them, giving your jaw joints and muscles a much-needed rest so they can recover. If you clench or grind your teeth but don’t feel particularly stressed then it’s possible this habit could be caused by something different. When you visit us we will assess the way your teeth bite together as sometimes bite abnormalities can cause bruxism. Adjusting your bite through the use of cosmetic orthodontics (read also:Your Orthodontic Options: Types of Braces) or with dental appliances can help treat this condition.

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By: Dmitry Epelboym Cosmetic Dentistry Center