What should I do if I am grinding my teeth?

Written by Dr. Srinivasa DMD, Paramount Dental Care (201) 864-4700

If you often find yourself with a sore jaw, don’t fret. Grinding your teeth, or bruxism is a common problem. When you grind your teeth, you are putting a lot of force on your TMJ joint, your facial muscles and neck muscles. This causes soreness (especially when you wake up in the morning), destruction of your teeth and in some cases can also cause headaches.

Bruxism can be caused by stress, anxiety, smoking, alcohol, caffeine, a bad bite or sleep disorders. It is also very common among people with anxiety and stress, especially those with a stressful work environment. Even children can develop bruxism.

To stop bruxism, oftentimes you must figure out the cause. Try to alleviate stress and anxiety. You should also visit your dentist to have your jaw and bite evaluated. Your dentist may fit you for a night guard, which will prevent you from grinding in your sleep. Your dentist may also refer you to a sleep specialist, who may preform a sleep study to rule out sleep disorders.

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If You’re Nervous in the Dental Chair, These Tips Can Help!

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD, ParaDentalCare.info, (201) 864-4700

If you are feeling anxious about your next dental visit, you are not alone. Many adults are nervous about dental visits. However, anxiety and nervousness are very treatable. Here are some tips for nervous dental patients.

  1. Stay calm, take deep breaths, and do not fidget! One of the most important things to keep in mind is that your dentist is working in a small space. It is important to minimize movement and fidgeting. Make sure you take deep breaths in and out of your nose. Close your eyes, and visualize a relaxing scene. Your dentist is working as fast as they can, and you will be out of the chair in no time.
  2. Bring someone with you. Having someone you trust with you can help you feel less alone.
  3. Repeat positive affirmations in your head. This helps to end your negative thinking patterns. You might walk into a dentist’s office worrying, but it is important to try to switch your negative, worrisome thoughts to positive, affirming thoughts. Repeat things such as “I am safe”, “I am brave”, “I’ve done this before” or “I will be out of here in no time”.
  4. Speak to your dental office beforehand. If you are feeling nervous, try calling a week before your appointment to see how your dentist personally deals with anxious patients.
  5. Listen to music. Bring your headphones and iPod and play your favorite music. This will help distract and relax you. Listening to music can also help drown out the sounds of dental tools.

I hope this has helped! Remember, anxiety is very common.