Is Stress Wearing You Down? Your Teeth May Show Signs
Yesterday, I saw a patient who knew she was grinding her teeth at night. She, like many, has found herself under more stress, and told me she was waking up with little pieces of broken teeth in her mouth. I was so glad she recognized this as a problem, and came to our office for help. Grinding habits often go unnoticed, and teeth can wear down without a patient experiencing any symptoms. I informed her many patients are noticing similar issues with their teeth due to elevated stress. The American Dental Association even shared an article published by NPR that touches on this rising issue. You may be able to see signs of grinding in rough or flattened edges of teeth, as you may have noticed in the picture from her appointment.
There are many reasons teeth could appear worn, and patients may see signs of wear at any stage of life. Sometimes the types of foods and beverages in our diet can lead to broken down tooth surfaces. Very acidic foods, carbonated water or soft drinks, and rough foods (coarse nuts or chewing ice) can cause teeth to wear or break over time. Some health conditions like acid reflux, and various genetic conditions, can predispose patients to vulnerable, misshaped teeth.
If you catch yourself clenching or sliding your teeth side-to-side at night, you may be experiencing a form of grinding called nocturnal bruxism. Nocturnal bruxism can easily go unnoticed, since it happens unconsciously for some people while they sleep. If you, or a loved one, suspect your teeth may be showing signs of wear, it is important to schedule an appointment with a dentist. As we mentioned, causes of tooth wear are varied, so it’s important to investigate with a dental exam and open conversation with your dentist. Depending on what may be causing your tooth wear, there are options available.
Yesterday’s patient chose to have some tooth-colored material placed to rebuild the broken teeth, and a night guard. This was an excellent option for her treatment. In some cases, Invisalign can help move teeth into more favorable positions, so teeth bear forces more equally. If bruxism is diagnosed early, a night guard alone could protect teeth from wearing down. These are only a few of many excellent options to help address and prevent further wear. We diagnose and treat many dental conditions, and we are honored to help manage your oral health. Please don't let concerns of your teeth wear you down! We can take care of it.
Keep brushing and flossing!