We all need to let off steam and release stress in some way or another. Exercising, therapy sessions, long chats with a loved one, fasting from social media – all of these can be healthy ways to manage stress. Yet, not everyone has the time to commit to these forms of stress relief. With 2020 being the year where almost everyone has had to deal with stress, medical professionals have been faced with the taxing responsibility of caring for those who are suffering.
Dentists nationwide have been dealing with high cases of bruxism. Also known as teeth grinding, bruxism is a serious oral health condition that can compromise the health, stability, and integrity of the teeth. When bruxism is caught in its early stage, intervention methods can prevent permanent damage to the smile. Unfortunately, dental practices were closed for months during 2020. As dental practices have reopened and have been able to treat patients, dentists have reported seeing high numbers of patients presenting with signs of bruxism.
According to the Bruxism Association, stress levels are the strongest predictor of bruxism, implicated in 70% of cases. Teeth grinding is mostly a nighttime disorder where people grind their teeth while they sleep. It is a completely involuntary action, and unless a partner tells you that you are grinding your teeth at night, you may have no idea.
However, there are some tell-tale signs to help you know if you need to see your dentist about bruxism.
- Waking up in the morning with headaches, jaw pain or tenderness, or muscle tightness around the jaw
- Clicking or popping noises in the jaw when you chew
- Ear pain
- Teeth that are overly sensitive to hot or cold temperatures
- Sores or damage to the inside of your cheek wall
- Flat, worn down surface areas of the teeth
If any of these signs seem familiar to you, it is time to visit the dentist. If you notice changes in the appearance of your teeth, this is a sign that stress could be hurting your smile.
At Engineered Smiles, we offer thorough evaluation and treatment for many oral health concerns. Please contact our practice today.