The holiday season is a time of year that comes with many things: visits from loved ones, weekly parties, a multitude of shopping trips, long hours spent in the kitchen and stress-induced bruxism. Stress isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it can even be good in small doses. It can bring excitement, joy, and eager anticipation, and it can even function as that extra bit of motivation that you need to get everything on your to-do list done. Even when the outcome of the stress you are experiencing is positive, the effects it has on you physically can be negative. Making regular visits to your general dentist in Washington DC can reduce extensive and expensive care in the future.

What Is Bruxism?

The gradual onset of mild to moderate head and neck aches, jaw pain, and sensitive teeth can signal that stress is beginning to take a toll and that you might be suffering from a condition called bruxism. Bruxism is a condition in which you clench and grind your teeth throughout the day and night. The clenching and grinding can become so hard and loud that it can be heard by partners and loved ones within a living space. Some individuals only suffer from short bouts of bruxism. However, if you begin to experience any of the following associated symptoms on a regular basis, you should call us immediately to schedule an appointment. Signs and symptoms that indicate you could be suffering from bruxism include:

  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Face pain rooted at the jawline
  • Earache pain
  • Headache in the temple area
  • Sores from chewing or biting the inside of your cheek
  • Grinding teeth during sleeping hours

If left, untreated, bruxism can lead to more serious conditions. These conditions include:

Damaged Teeth: Individuals who suffer from bruxism end up clenching and unclenching their teeth all throughout the night. The pressure they put on their jaws can equate to 250 pounds or more worth of force, which can cause extreme wear and tear on teeth. Tooth sensitivity is the least of the repercussions this type of pressure can have on oral health.

TMJ: TMJ is a disorder that causes pain in the jaw, head and neck areas. It can cause the jaw muscles to spasm and make it difficult for sufferers to open and close their mouths normally. Treatments may include Botox injections, medications that relax muscles and nighttime mouth guards.

Sleep Disturbances: Bruxism ranks as the third most frequent abnormal sleep behavior. Some sufferers become aware of their condition seeking help for severe sleep deprivation and exhaustion.

If you have signs of bruxism, we may choose to look for changes that may have taken place over the course of your visits. Your exam may include x-rays and questionnaires.The holiday season is a time of year to be enjoyed. You don’t have to let the excitement and anticipation take an unpleasant toll. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms that may indicate you are suffering from bruxism, call Soft Touch Dentists.