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Teeth Grinding

December 18, 2015

Filed under: Teeth Grinding — drsboyd @ 3:01 pm

Can Holiday Stress Cause Teeth Grinding?

iStock_000017046751_SmallUnconscious teeth grinding (bruxism) and clenching are common dental health disorders, and the Drs. Boyd have the solution: custom-crafted night guards.

The holidays are meant to be about fun times spent with friends and families, but the reality is that all of the additional obligations and travel we do can be extremely stressful. The last thing you want to worry about during the holidays might be your teeth, but all the added stresses of the holiday season might be causing some unseen dental damage and painful head and muscle aches.

Bruxism is a dental disorder that causes patients to unconsciously grind and clench teeth. It’s difficult for many patients to change this behavior because it happens most frequently during sleep. A 2003 study showed that stress might not only increase incidences of teeth grinding, but also actually cause them. Sleepers who were part of the study exhibited bruxism when stress-related parts of the brain were aroused during sleep. Grinding and clenching can wear away tooth enamel, damage dental restorations like fillings and crowns, and create tiny cracks and spaces which hide decay-causing bacteria. But, there is good news! New Yorkers can trust their smiles to the Drs. Boyd, and resume stress-free, restorative sleep using custom-made night guards.

More About Bruxism

Some patients naturally clench their teeth shut believing this is the jaw’s natural resting position. However, this is a habit developed over years. At night, teeth grind and clench together while the patient is unconscious and unable to control the amount of pressure placed on teeth. This causes tooth chips, cracks, and breaks. While dental damage is one of the most common side effects, teeth grinding also leads to other health concerns including:

  • TMJ headaches and neck aches
  • Insomnia — due to repeatedly wakening throughout the night
  • Reinforces the stress cycle where lack of sleep leads to even more stress, more grinding, leading to less sleep etc.
  • Exhaustion
  • Sore gums, teeth, jaws or face
  • Earaches or hearing loss

How Night Guards Help

It may seem obvious that wearing a night guard would help patients by putting a barrier between their teeth, but recent studies show that the benefits might not stop there. Patients who consistently wear night guards to protect their teeth during sleep may actually be resetting a habitually clenched jaw to rest in a more relaxed position. While the bulk of damage caused by bruxism happens during sleep, helping patients change the way they hold their mouth during the day, may be a long-term cure for the underlying cause of teeth grinding.

Contact the Drs. Boyd to Find Out More

If clenching and teeth grinding are causing your jaw or teeth to hurt, contact the Drs. Boyd right away. We’re here to help you.

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