To say that things have been slightly stressful lately would be an understatement and we’re right there with you in thinking that everyone’s due for a nice, quiet, relaxing few days off without anything untoward happening. Sadly, things don’t always go the way we want them to and that tends to stress people out.
Stress manifests itself in a lot of gnarly ways, but one particularly nasty one is dental bruxism; this is the clinical term for when you clench or gnash your teeth whether you’re awake or asleep. Many who suffer from it never even notice that they’re doing it. This can lead to some things you don’t want happening in both the short and long term.
Your oral health can say a lot about how things are with your physical well-being. This isn’t news to most people. What might be news is how people tend to underestimate how much damage clenching your teeth on a chronic basis can do in the long term—we’re not just talking about how it wears down your teeth; there’s also enamel cracking with consequent infections, chronic headaches, ear pain and a slew of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders to worry about.
Suffice to say that it’s a bad time all around.
It’s a common problem with some estimates claiming that between 8 percent to a whopping 31 percent of the population have experienced it. While that’s a frightening statistic, it also means that remedies are well-researched, and dentists will likely have experience correcting the damage done by it.
Cracking is a common problem associated with bruxism, so filling in those fissures helps stabilize teeth as well as prevent the spread of decay, heading off any risk of infections down the line. As for the headaches and ear issues caused by the pressure on your jaw, there are assorted therapies and surgeries that relieve the pain brought on by TMJ disorders and mitigate the effects brought on by it.
Unfortunate as this is, some cases of bruxism are either directly caused or exacerbated by dental misalignments instead of stress (though you can often see both acting in tandem). The easiest way to address these is braces, which realign your teeth and can even help prevent bruxism by moving contact points.