How Anxiety and Stress Can Trigger Grinding and Bruxism

In several instances, a chronic bruxism can lead to a loose and fractured set of teeth. Chronic teeth grinding may file down your teeth to stumps. In the light of these events, bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, partial dentures, and even complete dentures may be required.

The dangers of severe bruxism are not limited to a damaged teeth and tooth loss only, it can go on to affect your jaws and lead to temporomandibular disorder and severe pain and stiffness in the jaw joint which utterly disfigures your face.

Grinding and Bruxism

Bruxism Treatment: What can be done?

Causes of Bruxism

Doctors can’t categorically explain the main causes of teeth grinding, but examinations have revealed that it may be due to a combination of physical, psychological and genetic factors like

  • Stress, and increased anxiety.
  • Age: bruxism is more prevalent among young children but even adults are not immune to it.
  • Personality: bruxism is also associated with aggressive and hyperactive people.
  • Bruxism could be hereditary especially the subconscious bruxism.
  • Bruxism could also be a side effect of some psychiatric medications like antidepressants. 

The major types of bruxism include:

The Conscious bruxism usually occur because of emotions such as anxiety, stress, anger, frustration or tension.
The Subconscious bruxism: this type is usually sleep-related. Grinding activity could be loud enough for a partner to hear.

In some instances, teeth grinding may occur, and no treatment is required. If you find that the clenching and your jaws and grinding of your teeth is on a more regular basis, you may have to visit your dentist for bruxism treatment.

Bruxism often leads to a damaged tooth, disordered jaw, it also results in headache and other problems. Bruxism could be in your subconscious you might not be aware of it. You might not also be symptomatic but there are a couple of symptoms you should be mindful of.

They include; Ear ache, Head ache, and Facial pain. Severe pain and stiffness in the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint) and surrounding muscles, which can cause temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Sleeping in fits and starts, sleep disruption that could also wake your partner. Lastly, worn teeth which might expose inner layers of your teeth and lead to a high sensitivity and tooth loss. 

As soon as you become symptomatic, you are advised to visit your doctor for the necessary bruxism treatment. There are a number of ways to treat bruxism; The use of a mouth guard or mouth sprint reduces the sensation of clenching and gnashing your teeth. Mouth guards also protect against further tooth damage. Muscle relaxation exercises and hygiene can also be used for treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can also be recommended for patients with stress and anxiety.

Other useful tips include; Reduction in the consumption of foods with caffeine like chocolate, colas and coffee. Clenching intensifies after alcohol consumption, avoid alcohol. Avoid chewing objects that are not food like key holders, pencils, biros etc.

Teeth grinding and jaw clenching is common to some people. It is a medical condition called bruxism. Teeth grinding can be caused by several reasons and the most common reason is stress and anxiety. Bruxism could be consciously done otherwise called awake bruxism, or it could be done in your subconscious also called sleep bruxism.

Teeth Grinding: Why is it Harmful?

Dara Kimia D.M.D.         Herbert Schneider D.D.S.

Daniel Herrera D.D.S.     Brock J. Lorenz D.M.D.

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