Don’t Take Your Stress Out On Your Teeth

When life gets stressful, many people have the tendency to clench or grind their teeth.  The forces generated by these habits are very strong, and over time, they can be damaging to the teeth, gums, and surrounding bone.  Here’s a list of some things to look out for:

  1. The edges of your teeth flattening out, causing the teeth to lose their shape and contour
  2. Recession of the gums—when the gums drop down and expose the root surfaces of the teeth
  3. Wearing of the root surfaces of the teeth—the teeth look “scooped out” and concave by the gum line
  4. Tension in your jaw muscles
  5. Frequent headaches
  6. Sensitive teeth
  7. Hairline cracks developing in the teeth

This photo is an example of severe grinding habits—this could evolve after years of heavy grinding:

This photo shows what recession of the gums looks like:

What should you do if you are clenching/grinding?  Make an appointment with your dentist to have your teeth evaluated and a night guard made.  A night guard is made out of clear acrylic and slides over your teeth like a retainer.  This appliance helps to separate the teeth and protect them from the strong forces of your jaw.