Gritting Your Teeth: Stress And Your Smile

Fargo how stress hurts your teeth

Doctors have been telling us for years that stress can increase the risk of everything from high blood pressure to depression. But how often do we think about how stress impacts our smile? Here are some dental problems linked to stress.

Canker and Cold Sores
Cold sores are a symptom of the herpes simplex virus. Scientists don’t know exactly what causes canker sores but suspect they are related to infection, virus or a weak immune system. If you are prone to mouth sores, you probably already know that stress seems to bring them on or prolong healing times. If you frequently get these sores, talk to your doctor or dentist. Your healthcare provider can advise you on medications, diet, and stress reduction techniques.

Teeth Grinding

It’s no surprise that teeth grinding (bruxism) is bad for teeth. It starts with enamel wear, then loose teeth, and eventually tooth loss. During this progression, there may be other problems such as gum recession, headaches, and TMD (Temporomandibular Disorders). If you grind your teeth, it’s important to address this condition as soon as possible. In addition to stress, there are many factors that can cause or exacerbate bruxism. These include: malocclusion (bad bite), sleep apnea, and prescription depression and anxiety medications.

Your dentist may prescribe an appliance to protect your teeth and keep your jaw in the proper position while you are sleeping. Other treatments include cognitive behavior therapy, relaxation therapies, mandibular advancement devices, and medication. Your dentist can create a treatment plan and work with you and your doctor to reduce or eliminate this behavior.

Temporomandibular Disorders
There are many direct and indirect causes of TMD. For example, inability to manage stress may cause jaw clenching which, in turn, causes pain in the jaw joint. Other symptoms of TMD include tenderness, pain, or swelling in the neck, ear, face, or shoulder; popping or clicking sounds; and changes in bite alignment. Again, if you experience any of these, talk to your dentist.

Gum Disease
Stress can reduce your ability to fight plaque build up which can cause gum disease.

Oral Hygiene
Some people miss brushing and flossing when life becomes problematic.

Diet
It’s not uncommon for people to consume more sugar, snack more often between meals, or drink more alcoholic beverages when experiencing increased stress. All this at a time when vigilant oral hygiene is probably not a person’s first priority!

Tooth pain and untreated dental issues will only give you something else to worry about. Let’s nip this vicious cycle in the bud.

I’m Dr. Dennis Hetland. If you haven’t seen a dentist in a while and are experiencing an unusually stressful period, I invite you to schedule an appointment with me by calling Designer Smiles at 701-566-5063. Let’s determine the status of your oral health, schedule treatment if necessary, and create a plan to restore and maintain a healthy smile. My caring dental team will make you feel relaxed during your stress-free visit to our comfortable Fargo office.

Remember, a healthy smile will give you one less thing to worry about.

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Designer Smiles

Dr. Dennis Hetland
Dr. Jeff Harrie
Come visit Dr. Hetland in Fargo if you are in need of dental services, such as dental implants or cosmetic dentistry! Call now to schedule an appointment if you are in Moorhead or West Fargo!

3525 25th St S
Fargo, ND 58104

CALL: (701) 298-9400 701-566-5063
awakenyoursmile@cableone.net

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Making smiles bright extends beyond the doors of Designer Smiles, especially each March through June when we proudly participate in the Smiles For Life campaign. During this time, 100 percent of the proceeds from teeth whitening procedures go to children’s charities, including right here in the F-M area. This year, we have selected Haley's Hope Dyslexia Learning Center as the local charity of choice.

We make helping children and bright smiles easy—simply contact us to schedule your teeth whitening appointment. You get a brighter, whiter smile, and children get a reason to smile, as well. If you are already happy with your bright smile, simply ask about the other ways you can participate in helping children.Dr. Hetland is a Smiles For Life participating dentist in Fargo, North Dakota to benefit children's charities.