Bruxism (clenching and/or grinding of the teeth) affects millions of Americans. Some people are aware they grind their teeth and some have no idea. Regardless, bruxism can lead to severe wear on the teeth or problems with the TMJ (temporomandibular joint). Typically we recommend a custom made appliance to help protect the teeth, the joint, and even alleviate any pain associated with bruxism. But are their other holistic approaches we can try to help reduce the bruxism? Some studies suggest there is a chance.
There are different theories and causes for why we grind our teeth. One of the more common associations is stress. Some stress is unavoidable and sometimes it comes and goes. From a dental point of view, I cannot help treat your stress. However, I can help treat the symptoms and protect your teeth and jaw. But there are other medical professionals that may be able to treat the stress. There are specialists you can work with that can help you manage stress. If that does not work there may be some medications available. If you are interested in this route, I would suggest talking with your physician first.
Some recent studies have also suggested yoga and other forms of exercise can help reduce stress. There are times when your life is so busy and full of unavoidable stresses that there will never be a complete escape. Putting time aside to exercise can help you let go for a little or even give you the time to organize your thoughts. By managing your stress, you may also reduce the amount you clench or grind your teeth.
At this time there is no way to predict whether or not this strategy will work for you. But if you grind your teeth and you don’t have a consistent exercise routine it doesn’t hurt to try. If it doesn’t work we can always make you an appliance to help protect your teeth.
For more information, visit www.dentistwestchester.com.
Lee T. Brown, DDS
Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.