Solutions for Pandemic-Related Stress Teeth Grinding
It’s no surprise that the pandemic has brought on a tremendous amount of stress. Dentists have reported tooth-grinding and jaw-clenching are on the rise due to the scary and uncertain circumstances from the COVID-19 pandemic. Grinding and clenching (“bruxism”) can create cracked teeth, destroy crowns or fillings; migraines and other headaches; and pain in the face, neck and jaw. Is there a cure for the pandemic stress inducing teeth grinding? Perhaps not a cure, but there are various ways to combat against teeth grinding and clenching. Lets explore the different options to fight this stressful habit.
5 to 10 minutes of jaw and face exercise each day can help – By keeping your teeth apart, simply bend your fingers and place your knuckles on each side of your face. Give yourself a self-massage, pushing down. Applying ice packs or heat to the sides of your face prior to this exercise can help loosen and relax the muscles to be ready for the exercise.
Botox or Dysport Injections – Botox and Dysport are toxins most associate with cosmetic procedures, however these toxins have been found to help with tension relief from grinding, clenching and TMJ pain. Dr. Greenbaum uses Botox for his patients that suffer from TMJ and teeth grinding, injecting Botox into several muscles in the face, neck, head and jaw to help with pain relief. The procedure only takes a few minutes and the affects can be felt within 2 weeks. Botox lasts for 3-4 months and can be re-administered after that time period.
Overnight Mouth Guards – An overnight mouth guard can help you from clenching or grinding while you sleep and Dr. Greenbaum specializes in fitting his patients with the most comfortable oral appliances. A mouth guard fits over your top or bottom teeth and helps keep your teeth apart, thereby relaxing the muscles and reducing pain.
Eating Soft Food – A simple trick, but it’ll save you a lot of pain. Eating softer foods will lessen the use of your jaw muscles than harder or crispy foods.
Applying Ice or Heat – Sometimes an ice pack or heating pad applied to the jaw muscles can relieve pain caused by clenching or grinding. Only ice or heat the pain inflicted areas for 5-10 minutes at a time to receive the best pain relief.
The pandemic has caused a lot of stress for our society, but having the knowledge of how to fight stress related pain will help you live a happier life. If you’re curious about how Dr. Greenbaum can help you with pain relief, give the office a call to setup an appointment or consultation.
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