How to Minimize Bite Stress

Your teeth exert forces on each other when you bite and chew, and the teeth are equipped to handle those forces. However, when the bite faces other sources of stress, such as clenching and grinding of the teeth, it can become problematic and necessitate a trip to the dental office.

Patients may not even recognize that their bites are unusually strained, but certain symptoms, such as persistent headaches and excessive wear of the teeth, can indicate a problem. If you have any of these, mention them to the dentist during your next trip to your DFW dental office.

If you have a condition that leads to excessive bite stress, your dentist can recommend a variety of interventions to address the problem.

Psychological stress can manifest in the bite, and in those cases, the dentist may recommend meditation or relaxation exercises as a component of the treatment.

Bruxism, or nighttime teeth grinding and clenching, is a primary example of a stress-related problem, and it can be treated using custom-designed mouthguards worn while a patient is asleep.

Improper jaw alignment is another condition that can strain the teeth and the muscles that bring them together. When the jaws do not match up, even routine forces placed on the teeth can be distributed improperly. Orthdontics or, in complex cases, surgery, may help to bring the jaws back into line in such patients.

Bad habits, such as using the teeth as tools for non-chewing functions, may also be at fault. Be honest with your dentist about all potential causes of bite stress.

It’s important to recognize that there’s no need to suffer from the symptoms associated with excessive bite stress. Effective treatments are available, and it’s important to seek them. If your teeth continue to be exposed to such forces, they will eventually become less effective at their primary job: chewing.

While you’re at home, keep a record of any signs or symptoms of bruxism or other bite abnormalities. Bring that journal with you to your dental appointment so that you can discuss it with your dentist and get treatment recommendations.

Contact one of our DFW dentists to learn more and to schedule your next exam.