There is a good chance you have heard Drs. Lee, Yoon, and Lorenzo or someone else at Park Slope Dental Arts mention the term ‘bruxism’ and discuss the problems it can cause for your oral health. At the office, we talk about a lot of technical dental stuff that doesn’t necessarily concern our Brooklyn patients, but bruxism is something we definitely want you to know about. Stress and bruxism go hand in hand, and we are going to tell you exactly what that means and how it affects your health.
Alright, we know you are on the edge of your seat! What is bruxism and why does it concern you? Well, how often do you find yourself clenching your jaw or notice others doing just that? Bruxism is a common condition characterized by jaw clenching and the grinding of teeth. It is perfectly normal to clench your jaw and grind your teeth from time to time, but it can be very damaging if it gets to be a regular habit. The biggest issue with bruxism is that people are rarely aware that they suffer from this condition, and left unchecked, it can cause a number of painful and inconvenient side effects.
Have you or a loved one suffered from any of the following symptoms?
Your teeth have become chipped, broken, flattened or worn down
You have experienced pain, fatigue, or tightness in your jaw
You have frequent earaches
You have frequent headaches
Your teeth have become noticeably more sensitive
Your tongue has odd indentations
The insides of your cheeks are damaged from chewing
Your loved ones and/or sleeping partner notice that you frequently grind your teeth while you are sleeping.
If any of these telltale signs are familiar to you, it is time to let Drs. Lee, Yoon, and Lorenzo know. If you suspect you might have a damaging case of bruxism but aren’t sure, we recommend that you ask your spouse or partner. This is because loved ones are more likely to notice you grinding your teeth before you do.
Now that you know what bruxism is, let’s talk about why it happens. The answer is simple: stress. An increase in stress and/or anxiety is most likely the culprit behind a serious case of teeth grinding. Bruxism is one of many psychosomatic (physical manifestations of psychological problems) conditions that stress can cause and it can be especially damaging if any of the following categories apply to you.
Factors that can make the effects of bruxism worse:
In some cases, bruxism can be caused by Parkinson’s disease or Huntington’s disease. Antidepressants have also been known to cause bruxism, but this side effect is rare. If you are suffering from bruxism, it is most likely because of stress related to your daily life.
Why is Bruxism a Big Deal?
Good question. In most cases it is not a big deal. However, Drs. Lee, Yoon, and Lorenzo remind us that patients who have severe bruxism are at risk for any and all of the following complications:
Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD, i.e. jaw problems)
Damage to crowns, implants, bridges, and dentures
Chipped, broken, or worn down teeth
Chronic pain in mouth, jaw, or head
What to Do if You Have Bruxism
Treating the symptoms of teeth grinding is important and Drs. Lee, Yoon, and Lorenzo will certainly help with that, but bruxism often requires more. The best option is to work on alleviating the stress of your daily life. Easier said than done, we know, but we at Park Slope Dental Arts are here to help you get through it. Exercise, meditation, and good hobbies often work wonders, but counseling is a great option as well. In addition, Drs. Lee, Yoon, and Lorenzo can set you up with a custom mouth guard that will help mitigate the effects of teeth grinding. Not all bruxism guards are created equally in Brooklyn — it is possible to exacerbate your condition with anything other than medical-grade products.
The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
Our office has made the decision to temporarily suspend operations.
As we do our part in flattening the curve. We are closely monitoring the ever changing situation, and we have come to this decision based on available facts from the CDC, recommendations from dental associations around the country, and in keeping with our commitment to the safety of our patients and our team.
We are operating in the abundance of caution in our decision, as this is a situation we have not yet faced before.
Dental work that is non-essential and non-emergent will be postponed, and we will call to reschedule any pending appointments.
We are here to service our community and help in alleviating demands on our hospitals. If a dental emergency arises, Dr. Eddie or Dr. Rich will be available to come into the office and use proper protocol (as we normally do) to care for immediate needs or concerns. We have adjusted our hours, so please call ahead to make an appointment if you have an emergency.
If you have a non-urgent concern, please leave an e-mail at PARKSLOPEDENTALARTS@GMAIL.COM. If you have an emergency that you need to immediately address, please call 718-962-0808 to speak to someone in office or with someone from our call center.
We appreciate your understanding during this time. We will continue to be in touch as this situation develops in regard to re-opening the office again.
Dr. Eddie, Dr. Rich, and the Park Slope Dental Arts Team