Is Your Mouth Stressed Out?

Anchorage family dentistIf you are feeling the effects of too much stress in your life, chances are your mouth is, too. The body works in unison and the effects of stress and anxiety can negatively affect your wellbeing—including your oral health. In fact, stress-related dental conditions such as bruxism and TMJ disorder are not uncommon. Fortunately, our caring and experienced family dentist offers treatment for stress-related oral health issues.

How Stress Affects Your Oral Health

Have you ever woke up after a restless night of sleep to experience facial pain or headaches? Because we internalize stress, many patients grind their teeth and clench their jaw during sleep when stressed. The longer one endures distress, the more likely this action of clenching the jaw and grinding teeth becomes a habit. Over time, patients will begin to unknowingly do these things during the daytime, too. This habit of clenching and grinding teeth is called bruxism and it can have far-reaching effects on your oral health.

Over time, bruxism leads to wear and tear on teeth. As bruxism begins to wear tiny cracks in tooth enamel, the mineralized protective coating surrounding teeth, teeth become weaker in structure and more susceptible to decay. The molars located at the back of the mouth tend to experience more wear and tear than other teeth and eventually the upper and lower sets of teeth will not line up properly. As a patient’s tooth alignment (bite) changes, they may experience painful symptoms like toothaches and facial pain.

Malocclusions, Bruxism, and TMJ Disorder

Typically accompanying malocclusions and bruxism brought on by stress, patients often develop TMJ disorder. This dental condition leads to wear and tear on teeth and diminishes a patient’s quality of life by producing painful and debilitating symptoms. The TMJ is a joint that connects the skull and jawbone and is responsible for facilitating mouth movement. With stress-induced clenching and teeth grinding, it places unnecessary strain on the TMJ and surrounding tissues and ligaments.

Our family dentist provides treatment for bruxism and TMJ disorder with custom, comfortable oral appliances. These oral appliances resemble sports mouth guards and protect the teeth during sleep.

To learn more about bruxism and TMJ treatment, schedule an appointment with our skilled dental team today.