If you suffer from excess amounts of stress, you can probably list off a number of symptoms that you experience as a result: headaches, digestive issues and sleep disturbances, for starters. Many patients don’t realize, however, that their oral health may be at risk when they feel that they are under too much pressure.
Indeed, many patients present with stress-related problems at our family dentistry practice. One of the most common of these is bruxism, which is when patients subconsciously grind or clench their teeth.
A dentist can design a custom-fitted mouthguard for patients with bruxism to hold the teeth apart at night and prevent them from making contact. These appliances that are tailored to a patient’s unique specifications tend to be more effective than standardized models.
Most patients find that their bruxism resolves or decreases significantly in response to a mouthguard, and the appliances are usually well-tolerated and do not interfere much, if at all, with sleep. However, if you continue to experience significant symptoms, your dentist may also recommend stress management techniques or even some counseling to help you get a handle on the emotional problems that are contributing to your dental issues.
Another problem commonly seen in family dentistry is gum disease that may be exacerbated by stress. Inflammation is the hallmark of gum disease, and inflammation is also associated with stress. Specifically, patients who are under stress can produce excess cortisol, which is linked with numerous types of inflammation throughout the body, including that in the gum tissue.
Patients who have been experiencing a lot of tension and notice symptoms like redness, bleeding or swelling in the gums, should notify the dentist to be on the lookout for gum disease, which can be addressed with a mild intervention in its earliest stages.
Your mouth can suffer consequences from chronic or excess stress just like the rest of your body can. If you’ve noticed signs that you are grinding your teeth or symptoms of inflammation related to gum disease, bring them to our attention at your next appointment so that we can address the problem and get you started back down the path to good oral health. Contact the office of Dr. Barry Buchanan at 214-343-1818 to schedule your visit.