Being stressed out is stressful enough, but knowing that constant or repeated high levels of stress can actually affect your health and make you sick certainly doesn’t help either. Too much stress can cause serious health issues throughout the body including heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, and obesity. But the concerns don’t end there. Our dental office in Lawrenceville also wants our patients to know that high stress can also affect oral health.
Clenching & Grinding
During periods of increased stress, a common and automatic response may be to clench our teeth together or even grind them against each other. If either of these habits is done too often, it could result in chipped, broken, or cracked teeth as well as damage to the jaw joint. The constant force put on the jaw joint during repeated clenching can make the muscles sore and eventually cause TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder, or TMD, tends to be painful and may also cause popping, clicking, or a locked joint. In order to get relief, your dentist in Lawrenceville will need to find the best TMJ treatment for your individual case.
When many people think of gum disease they often immediately assume it was caused by poor dental hygiene. But there are several other factors that can put you at increased risk including smoking, medications, clenching or grinding your teeth, and stress. Gum disease is a serious condition that not only affects your mouth but also your whole body. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss, heart disease, and increase the risk for stroke.
Lower Your Stress & Protect Your Health
Stress is a natural part of life, but there are things you can do to help protect your health against the negative side effects of too much of it.
- Take a Deep Breath. Believe it or not, sometimes all you need to reduce stress is a few minutes of deep breathing. Focusing on your breath can lower your heart rate and help you feel more relaxed almost instantly.
- Work up a Sweat. Exercising regularly increases endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and testosterone. These chemicals are known to help make us feel good and combat anxiety and stress. Go for a walk, do some yoga, swim some laps. Whatever you do… just get moving.
- Sleep it Off. It’s recommended that adults get 7-9 hours a sleep every night, but many of us don’t. A thorough night’s sleep can reboot your body, lower stress, and give your body a chance to recover.
Nobody likes feeling stressed, and nobody wants to put their health at risk because of it. Commit to finding ways to help you relax, handle stress better, and keep anxiety low.
Over 39 million Americans, including both adults and children, are affected by chronic migraines, and currently there is no cure. In order to help educate the public on the reality of this painful condition, our Lawrenceville dental office observes National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month every June. But why is a dentist talking about migraines? What do they have to do with dentistry? Let’s find out…
Identifying a Migraine
Even though migraines are often be referred to as headaches, or headaches referred to as migraines, there is a difference between the two. Although both share the common symptom of an uncomfortable, painful sensation in the head, there are several things to look for that can help differentiate the two.
The Connection Between Migraines & Dentistry
Although there is no one, absolute cause of migraines, studies have shown a connection between a poor bite and chronic migraines. How is this possible? When we look at the anatomy of the head as a whole, we can see that there is a complex weave of muscles between the head and the jaw. So when the top jaw doesn’t align well with the bottom jaw, too much pressure is put on the muscles in that area and they can become strained. When this happens, the pain may not necessarily be felt in the jaw itself (although it can be), but rather in the head as a migraine. If you clench or grind your teeth often your jaw muscles will again be put under abnormal pressure and, you guessed, you can get a migraine.
Many migraine sufferers have found relief through dental intervention. To see if that may be an option for you, start by scheduling an appointment at our dental office in Lawrenceville. This appointment will allow us to check for any signs or a poor bite or bruxism to determine if this may be the cause of your migraines. From there, we will discuss your treatment options and recommend the best solution for you. Don’t keep suffering from migraine pain, give us a call today.
Every year around this time, we begin the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Coordinating schedules, braving the crowds at the grocery store and in the mall, cooking meals, and all the craziness that comes along with preparing for the holidays is bound to increase stress levels. But during a time when we’re supposed to be enjoying friends and family, stress is that last thing we want to get in the way. Afterall, as everyone at our dental office in Lawrenceville knows, stress can wreak havoc on not only our overall health, but oral health as well.
A Little Clench & Grind
During times of increased stress, we tend to subconsciously clench our teeth tightly together or grind them against each other. While this may seem like no big deal, if done repeatedly over a long period of time, grinding and clenching can cause damage to both the teeth as well as the jaw joint. Putting constant force on the teeth can lead to chipped, cracked, or fractured teeth, while habitually engaging jaw muscles may cause TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder can be painful and may lead to long term problems. So if you’re experiencing any popping, clicking, or locking in the jaw joint, we recommend contacting your Lawrenceville dentist.
Usually we talk about gum disease being caused by an improper hygiene routine or missing regular visits with your dentist. However, recent research has also shown a positive link between stress and the development of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious condition that not only affects your mouth, but your whole body as well. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss, heart disease, and pregnancy complications, along with a host of other health problems.
Take It Easy for Health’s Sake
To help protect your body and oral health during the stressful holiday season, we encourage you find ways to help yourself relax. Check out the following tips for a few things to try.
- Breath it Out. Something as simple as setting aside a few moments to take a few deep breaths can really help lower stress. Practicing deep breathing exercises has been proven to lower blood pressure and reduce overall anxiety levels.
- Work it Out. Hit the gym, go for a walk, do some yoga. Whatever you choose to do, just get your heart pumping and sweat it out. Physical exercise can do wonders to decrease stress, and all the other health benefits don’t hurt either.
- Sleep it Off. It can be difficult to get enough sleep during non-crazy times of the year. And during the holidays it can be even harder. Remember to schedule in time to make sure you’re catching enough zzz’s. Giving your body a chance to relax can keep you healthy so you can actually enjoy everything the holidays have to offer.
From all of us at our Lawrenceville dental office, we hope you have a great holiday season with limited stress and anxiety and packed full of friends, family, laughs, and great memories.
So you’ve just had your six month dental checkup and you were told you need to consider getting a dental night guard. What exactly is a dental night guard and what is it for? The team at our dental office in Lawrenceville is here to explain.
What’s a Dental Night Guard For?
Dental night guards are often the treatment of choice for patients who have a history of grinding their teeth while they sleep. Also known as bruxism, tooth grinding typically occurs at night when patients have no way of knowing they even do it. Chronic bruxism can lead to several problems with teeth and even the jaw. If left untreated, bruxism can cause broken, chipped, or cracked teeth, headaches, and TMJ/TMD. Bruxism can be treated and should be done so early to avoid future problems.
What Types of Night Guards Are Available?
There are two types of night guards: professional, custom-made and over-the-counter, boil and bite. While the night guards found at drugstores can work to reduce tooth grinding, there are several benefits to choosing a custom night guard made by a dentist. To begin, custom-made night guards use detailed molds of your teeth, making them a more comfortable choice. Your dentist will also consider the alignment of your jaw during the fitting process to ensure your night guard won’t place unnecessary stress on the joint which could lead to other problems. Lastly, while a store-bought night guard may seem attractive at first due to the lower cost, custom-made night guards usually last up to 10 years, making them a more cost-efficient option in the long run.
Are There Other Treatment Options?
Night guards may be the most common treatment method to stop tooth grinding, but it certainly isn’t the only option. Other recommended treatments may include methods of stress reduction, limiting the intake of caffeine or medication with stimulants, or perhaps orthodontics to straighten teeth and realign the jaw.
Signs of Bruxism
While your dentist in Lawrenceville is the best person to diagnose bruxism, there are several signs you should keep a lookout for in between visits including:
- Flat or chipped teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Waking up with sore jaw muscles
- Neck or facial pain
If you happen to notice any of these signs and suspect you may be grinding your teeth, we welcome you to give our Lawrenceville dental office a call to schedule an appointment. We’ll perform a thorough evaluation in our relaxing office to determine if bruxism is the root of what you’re experiencing. If it is we’ll talk with you about your treatment options and work together to decide which one may be best for you.