• Blog >
  • Stress and Nighttime Teeth Grinding
RSS Feed

Stress and Nighttime Teeth Grinding

StressandNighttimeTeethGrinding

April is National Stress Awareness Month. But what does stress have to do with dentistry? According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, if you have a Type A personality or are under a lot of stress, you are more likely to suffer from a condition called bruxism, which means you habitually grind or gnash your teeth. One in ten adults grind their teeth, and the rate is much higher in stressful professions. In fact, the bruxism rate is seven times higher among police officers!

Many people grind their teeth in their sleep without realizing it, so how would you know if you are a "sleep bruxer"? If your spouse frequently elbows you in the ribs because of the grinding sounds you make, that could be your first clue. Unfortunately, dental damage is another common sign. Some people find out they are nighttime teeth grinders only when they are examined by a dentist since bruxing often leads to wear patterns on the teeth that only happen because of this behavior. Other complications can also develop: The condition can interfere with sleep, result in headaches and cause soreness in the face, neck or jaw. Chronic or severe nighttime teeth grinding can damage dental work, such as veneers, bridgework, crowns and fillings, and can result in teeth that are worn down, chipped, fractured or loose.

The most common treatment is a custom-made night guard made of high-impact plastic that allows you to sleep while preventing your upper and lower teeth from coming into contact. Although a night guard will protect your teeth and dental work, it won't stop the grinding behavior. Therefore, finding and treating the cause should be a priority.

The Bruxism Association estimates that 70 percent of teeth grinding behavior is related to stress. If you are a bruxer, you can try muscle relaxation exercises, stretching and breathing exercises, stress reduction techniques and, where feasible, any lifestyle changes that can allow you to reduce the number of stressors in your life. Prescription muscle relaxants may also help. In addition, teeth grinding may be related to sleep apnea. This possibility should be investigated since sleep apnea can have some serious health consequences—we offer effective treatments for this condition as well.

We can spot signs of bruxism, so it's important to come in for regular dental checkups. We look for early indications of dental damage and can help you protect your smile. If you have questions about teeth grinding or would like to discuss possible symptoms, please contact our office or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Grinding” and “Stress & Tooth Habits.”

Our Location

Find us on the map

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Dentist in Raleigh

Monday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

7:00 am-3:00 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Friday:

Closed

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

What Our Clients Say About Us

  • "Hands down best dentist and hygienist in the triangle. My wife and I both go there - if you have a problem Dr Ashley is going to do her very best to get you in and get you fixed. We love her and her fabulous staff."
    Richard C
  • "DR Lloyd is amazing! I have had two chipped teeth over the past few weeks and she has squeezed me in the same day both times. The most recent one was today which happens to be the day before Christmas Eve. Thank you DR Lloyd!"
    Michael P
  • "Dr. Lloyd and her staff are wonderful. I have always hated to go "the dentist" and therefore put off appointments for years! I am very glad that I decided to trust my teeth and care to this office! They have helped to ease my fear and anxiety and get the job done easily and quickly! I already have my next 6 month appointment made and I will look forward to being there."
    MaryAnn E
  • "Dr. Lloyd and her staff are amazing. I actually look forward to going to the dentist. If you are looking for an outstanding dentist with an excellent staff; look no further, Dr. Lloyd is the best of the best. From cleanings to crowns, it's always a great experience."
    Sandy C