The COVID-19 pandemic has probably changed a lot about the way you live your life, and with it has come uncertainty, altered daily routines, economic pressures, and social isolation.
You may worry about getting sick, how long the pandemic will last, and what the future will bring. Too much information, rumors, and misinformation can make you feel out of control and unclear about what to do.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may feel stress, anxiety, fear, sadness, and loneliness. Mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression, may worsen.
Teeth grinding (also called bruxism) is often related to stress or anxiety.
It does not always cause symptoms, but some people get facial pain and headaches, and it can wear down your teeth over time. Most people who grind their teeth and clench their jaw are not aware they're doing it. It often happens during sleep, or while concentrating or under stress.
Night guards are worn during sleep to combat teeth grinding. These mouthpieces hold the jaw in a certain position and/or provide a barrier to minimize tooth damage from grinding. Some mouthguards also place the jaw in a slightly open position, allowing the masseter muscles (chewing muscles) to relax all night. While they don’t cure sleep bruxism, mouthguards can decrease the impact of bruxism, reduce the wear-and-tear of teeth, reduce morning headaches, and improve sleep quality.
Symptoms of teeth grinding include:
Earachepain and stiffness in the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint) and surrounding muscles.
Temporomandibular disorder (TMD)
Disrupted sleep (for you or your partner)
Worn-down teeth, which can lead to increased sensitivity and even tooth lossbroken teeth or fillings
Splints and mouth guards. These are designed to keep teeth separated to avoid the damage caused by clenching and grinding. They can be constructed of hard acrylic or soft materials and fit over your upper or lower teeth.
Dental correction. In severe cases — when tooth wear has led to sensitivity or the inability to chew properly — your dentist may need to reshape the chewing surfaces of your teeth or use crowns to repair the damage.
One or more of these approaches may help relieve bruxism:
Stress or anxiety management. If you grind your teeth because of stress, you may be able to prevent the problem by learning strategies that promote relaxation, such as meditation. If the bruxism is related to anxiety, advice from a licensed therapist or counselor may help.
Behavior change. Once you discover that you have bruxism, you may be able to change the behavior by practicing proper mouth and jaw position. Ask your dentist to show you the best position for your mouth and jaw.
Biofeedback. If you're having a hard time changing your habits, you may benefit from biofeedback, a method that uses monitoring procedures and equipment to teach you to control muscle activity in your jaw.
In general, medications aren't very effective for treatment of bruxism, and more research is needed to determine their effectiveness. Examples of medications that may be used for bruxism include:
Muscle relaxants. In some cases, your doctor may suggest taking a muscle relaxant before bedtime, for a short period of time.
Botox injections. Injections of Botox, a form of botulinum toxin, may help some people with severe bruxism who don't respond to other treatments.
Medication for anxiety or stress. Your doctor may recommend short-term use of antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications to help you deal with stress or other emotional issues that may be causing your bruxism.
Treating associated disorders
Treatment for associated disorders may include:
Medications. If you develop bruxism as a side effect of a drug, your doctor may change your medication or prescribe a different one.
Sleep-related disorders. Addressing sleep-related disorders such as sleep apnea may improve sleep bruxism.
Medical conditions. If an underlying medical condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is identified as the cause, treating this condition may improve bruxism.
Lifestyle and home remedies
These self-care steps may prevent or help treat bruxism:
Reduce stress. Listening to music, taking a warm bath or exercising can help you relax and may reduce your risk of developing bruxism.
Avoid stimulating substances in the evening. Don't drink caffeinated coffee or caffeinated tea after dinner and avoid alcohol during the evening, as they may worsen bruxism.
Practice good sleep habits. Getting a good night's sleep, which may include treatment for sleep problems, may help reduce bruxism.
Talk to your sleep partner. If you have a sleeping partner, ask him or her to be aware of any grinding or clicking sounds that you might make while sleeping so you can report this to your dentist or doctor.
Schedule regular dental exams. Dental exams are the best way to identify bruxism. Your dentist can spot signs of bruxism in your mouth and jaw during regular visits and exams.
Any question please ask us. Make an appointment for a regular check-up at Empower Your Smile.