Drs. Lasher and Harriman at Dental One Associates of Waldorf
3500 Old Washington Road, Suite 301, Waldorf, MD 20602

The Link Between Tooth Grinding and Anxiety

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The habit of bruxism or nighttime teeth grinding is a common result of anxiety and stress. If you clench or grind your teeth thousands of times while you sleep, the immense pressure you place on your jaw can wear down your teeth and even cause joint and muscle problems. Teeth grinding may also occur when you are awake; you may not even be aware that you are doing it. About one in three people grinds their teeth, and many will suffer tooth decay, sensitive teeth, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems as a result.

Symptoms of Tooth Grinding

If you’re not aware that you’re grinding your teeth, your dentist may be the first to spot the problem. People who are most at risk for the condition include those who are worried, nervous, aggressive, competitive, angry, or frustrated. It commonly accompanies sleep apnea, snoring, or other sleep disorders. Tooth grinding and clenching leads to a variety of symptoms such as the following:

  • Headache or neck pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Earache or a feeling of fullness in ears
  • Tinnitus
  • Tooth sensitivity

Stress, Teeth Grinding, and Sleep

Stressful situations tend to make bruxism worse. In fact, the behavior may begin after a trauma such as a car accident or sudden loss. It’s easy to understand why clenching your jaw or teeth is a natural reaction to stress; a nerve in your jaw leads directly to the part of your brain that controls the fight-or-flight response. Anxiety and tooth grinding can become a vicious cycle. When you grind your teeth at night, it frequently awakens your brain from deep sleep, and the lack of proper sleep exacerbates anxiety problems. Increased anxiety leads to more tooth grinding. Treatments such as medications, therapy, and dental devices like mouth guards are available to improve symptoms of TMJ syndrome and protect your teeth. Consult your dentist for advice.

To get the dental care you deserve from an affordable dentist in Waldorf, call Drs. Lasher and Harriman at Dental One Associates of Waldorf today at (301) 861-0665 or make an appointment.

Dental One Associates offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Waldorf. With 12 affiliated practices throughout Maryland, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Drs. Lasher and Harriman at Dental One Associates of Waldorf, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Drs. Lasher and Harriman at Dental One Associates of Waldorf.

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