Bruxism (tooth grinding) is a serious condition. When left unattended, this habit can cause uneven tooth wear, gum recession, and trauma such as chipped or broken teeth. Worse still, chronic tooth grinders may give themselves TMD, a painful and limiting condition that can require surgery to correct.
Many people only find out they are teeth grinders during routine dental visits. During these visits, telltale signs of bruxism can be spotted easily, allowing Dr. Perlmutter to customize treatment options that help reduce the damage such as occlusal guards that can be worn while sleeping. However, if steps aren’t taken to mitigate the stress underlying your clenched jaw, lasting relief may prove elusive.
How to Calm Yourself Down
If you struggle with stress, the holidays can be very difficult. Here are five simple ways to calm yourself down whenever you recognize that your jaw is clenched:
- 4-7-8 breathing: breathe in through the nose for four seconds, hold for seven seconds, breathe out through the nose for eight seconds. Repeat
- Talking a walk: even a ten-minute brisk walk can calm the body
- Putting it down. If something is causing you stress and it doesn’t need to be dealt with immediately, put it down. Walking away to assess and give space is often all it takes to gain fresh perspective and clarity
- Change your focus. Talk to friends, family, or anyone you feel comfortable with about anything besides the stressor. Shifting focus can allow your brain to relax around an issue
- Take time for yourself. Exercise, enjoy a hobby, or do anything else that makes you feel relaxed. Even during stressful holidays, taking time for you can make everyone’s experience more enjoyable
If you struggle with severe anxiety or find yourself unable to calm down using these or similar methods, you may want to talk to a doctor about medications that can help quell nervous energy. Doing so may help you find peace and help protect teeth from bruxism-induced damage.
How We Can Help
Symptoms of bruxism may include pain or soreness around the jaw, constant ringing in the ears, sinus and ocular pressure, and broken teeth. Signs that Dr. Perlmuter may notice include shortened teeth, uneven tooth wear, receding gums, or excessive jaw tightness. When any of these symptoms are present, it is important to take action to preserve the smile and restore comfort.
An occlusal guard may be needed to support musculoskeletal redevelopment and prevent intense grinding at night. These guards may be used alone or in combination with other treatment options designed to restore comfort to the bite and preserve tooth structure, strength, and integrity for years to come.
If you struggle with bruxism, Dr. Perlmutter can help. Call us at 201-384-9292 to schedule an appointment at our Oradell office today.
Oradell Family Dental welcomes patients of all ages living in Bergenfield, Paramus, Dumont, and all surrounding areas of New Jersey.