Stress Relief Is Smile Relief
You’re tense, aren’t you?
Throughout the day, you’re dealing with one challenge after another. At work or at home, those challenges can quickly add up and take their toll in the form of stress.
Stressful days become stressful weeks. Stressful weeks become stressful months, and so on, until you feel overwhelmed and exhausted.
That certainly doesn’t leave you with a lot of energy left over for proper dental care. In fact, with all that you’ve got going on in your life, taking a trip to the dentist might be the last thing on your list.
Yet your stress can be destroying your smile without you even knowing it.
This makes neglecting an oral health problem only more stressful – and potentially more dangerous – in the long run.
Sure, you might not be aware of the connections between the anxiety of everyday life and how, as a result of how we cope with that anxiety, your smile can suffer from it.
Yet I have seen firsthand how patients like you can let stress and anxiety reach such levels that they develop mouth disorders which cause even more pain and anxiety.
A quick look at this list can help you identify if you’re suffering from a stress-induced oral health problem:
- Cold sores (also known as canker sores)
- Grinding your teeth, usually while you’re asleep
- TMJ disorder, whereby your jaw joint is damaged due to excessive teeth grinding
My practice can help you overcome the damage caused by these stressful symptoms, and I will recommend some pointers that will help alleviate the causes later in this article.
How I Can Help
Everybody is different, but we often have similar ways of responding to stress. As a dentist, this concerns me when those responses wind up causing serious injury to your oral health.
One example is teeth grinding, which is also known as bruxism. This happens most commonly during your sleep, when you subconsciously grind your teeth against one another.
If untreated, the effects of teeth grinding upon your smile can be disastrous: From headaches, worn tooth enamel and chipped teeth right up to complications with your jaw that can make it impossible to eat or speak correctly.
While the causes of bruxism can stem from other sleep-related complications, more often than not they are caused by psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, or anger.
We can treat your bruxism effectively with a custom-made mouth guard that will inhibit grinding, protect your teeth, and reduce the possibility that the grinding activity doesn’t cause damage to your jaw.
Severe cases of teeth grinding and cause TMJ disorder, which is a dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint connecting your jaw to your skull.
In that case, we can craft a special type of nightguard that will not only protect against teeth grinding, but can realign your jaw into its rightful place, eliminating facial pain and waking headaches.
If you have developed cold sores, this is a sign that your body is under physical strain and your immune system is weak. Typically, prescription medications can help keep them in check.
But in every case outlined above, there’s plenty that you can do on your own to keep stressors in check.
Tips For Managing Your Stress
First and foremost, I’d recommend that if you are experiencing stress in your life then you should consult your physician or a clinical psychologist. They will be best equipped to deal with the emotional and mental aspects of stress.
Here are some simple, everyday things you can do on your own that can help reduce your overall levels of anxiety, which in turn can have a positive impact on the quality of your smile:
- Meditation or Prayer – Studies have shown that regular periods of quiet reflection can have a calming effect on the human psyche. When combined with breathing exercises, you can learn to stop your mind from excessive worry.
- Regular Exercise – Not only does exercise improve your cardiovascular health, it can promote the regular release of chemicals by the brain that have mood-stabilizing benefits. Plus, working out your stress in the gym can be a cathartic experience for dealing with anger and other emotions that could be causing your nocturnal mouth troubles, and will enable you to sleep better during the night.
- Brushing & Flossing Twice Daily – At the bare minimum, this is what you should be doing at home to maintain proper oral hygiene. However, by adopting this regular practice, you’ll not only be protecting your teeth, you can help create routines in other areas of your life that may be chaotic and a cause of stress.
Schedule An Appointment To Learn The Truth
All of this assumes you’ve got a stress-related smile issue, but you know what happens when you assume, don’t you?
Take out the guesswork and schedule an appointment with us so we can help you get to the bottom of what’s hurting your smile and disturbing your sleep. Any delay will only add to your stress, and cause further harm to your teeth.
Please give us a call at 458-205-5189 to schedule an appointment, or you can request an appointment with us online.
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