Many people don’t realize that stress can affect oral health in addition to overall well-being . In your mouth, this stress often manifests as TMJ dysfunction and/or tooth wear.
When you are under pressure, you may be more likely to grind or clench your teeth. Sometimes people aren’t even aware that they’re doing it, especially if it occurs during sleep.
Unfortunately, that clenching action then puts strain on the muscles that are responsible for moving your jaw joint, also known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). If those muscles begin to spasm, you will experience discomfort and the jaw may not function properly. Additionally, grinding causes wear and tear on the teeth, which can make them more susceptible to breakage or decay.
TMJ disorders often can be treated with a bite guard worn during sleep. This appliance prevents the teeth from meeting while the patient is asleep, reducing the amount of strain placed on the jaw muscles. These bite guards are custom-designed for maximum patient comfort.
Stress isn’t the sole cause of TMJ dysfunction, however. Sometimes congenital defects or facial injuries cause damage to other parts of the jaw, such as the disc. The jaw is such a complex joint that a TMJ disorder can develop due to a problem in any of its components. The patient must get an accurate diagnosis in order to determine which treatment will be most effective.
In addition to pain, other symptoms of TMJ dysfunction can include popping or clicking noises from the jaw or locking of the jaw. If you notice any of these signs, be sure to bring them to the attention of your dental professional so that you can seek treatment.
If you’ve been feeling stressed out and have noticed jaw pain, call the office of Dr. Greg Seal at 214.361.0883 to be evaluated for a TMJ disorder. With over 25 years’ experience as a Dallas prosthodontist, Dr. Seal serves residents in Highland Park, University Park, and the neighboring communities.