Stress And Dental Health

Today’s complex and hectic world is taxing on our bodies physically as well as emotionally. Short term, stress is not necessarily a bad thing, but long term chronic stress is detrimental to one’s overall health. The mouth is truly a window into what is happening to rest of our bodies.

Quite often, stress manifests itself as bruxism, a term used to describe grinding and clenching of the teeth. Most individuals who have bruxism are unaware of their habit. Grinding and clenching tend to be most severe when sleeping. Symptoms may include headache, sore or broken and chipped teeth and jaw pain. Often a custom night guard (mouth guard) is helpful in minimizing or eliminating the effects of this condition.

Long term teeth grinding can lead to displeasing fractured, chipped and shortened front teeth. Fortunately, this unesthetic appearance can be corrected by Dr. Levy’s expertise in cosmetic dentistry.

Temporomandibular disorders, often referred to as TMD or TMJ, is a group of disorders that affect the jaw joint and associated muscles. Most frequently it is caused by overuse of the jaw muscles due to bruxism and musculo-skeletal disorders of the upper neck, back and shoulders. TMJ/TMD may also be triggered by an injury to those areas or a recent fall.

The severity of gum infections, known as periodontal disease (gum disease, gingivitis) is often increased due to emotional factors. Stress decreases the body’s ability to fight infection and in the mouth this can lead to painful, sore and bleeding gums. Some individuals may also experience canker sores (mouth sores), especially students during exam time. Other people may also experience very uncomfortable dry mouth.

Dr. Levy believes in taking a holistic, conservative and natural approach when treating the dental manifestations of stress. Please feel free to call Dr. Levy directly, at 516-378-8600, to answer any concerns you might have regarding your oral health.