Strategies for TMJ and Bruxism Relief

Neuromuscular Dentistry | DeStefano Dentistry | Pittsford, NYTeeth grinding and clenching is not something we spend much time thinking about. Even when people demonstrate symptoms that they are gnashing the gnawing each night, they often feel surprised when their dentist proposes the idea that they may be “working out” stress while they sleep. Statistics regarding bruxism, the term we use to describe grinding and clenching, indicate that about 10 percent of American adults, and 15 percent of children, suffer from this subconscious habit. Because lasting side effects may occur from regular grinding, we want to find ways to reduce this habit and the impact it has on the jaw.

At DeStefano Dentistry in Pittsford, NY, we provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment services revolving around the temporomandibular joints. Through research and personal experience, dentists have discovered that TMJ disorder, a condition that may cause chronic pain in the face, head, and neck, often stems from stress and bruxism. For this reason, we want to propose a few strategies that can alleviate stress-induced grinding to help our patients stay healthier and more comfortable.

Strategies to Reduce Stress

To decrease stress-induced bruxism, try:

  • Daily exercise. There are two ways that regular exercise can help manage a teeth-grinding habit. One is by providing another physical outlet for stress. Activity need not be intense or lengthy to gain from it. A daily walk or jog, some yoga, or a game of tennis all work. In addition to physically releasing stress, exercise works the body and stimulates better sleep.
  • A hobby or relaxation technique. There are so many ways to unwind in a healthy manner that you could try something new every week. Some people color to get present and put stressful thoughts aside. Some do crafts or cook or listen to music. Getting outside simply to stroll or watch the clouds roll by works, too!
  • The value of therapeutic grade essential oils has been in the spotlight lately, and for good reason. Oils like lavender, rose, vetiver, and bergamot all offer calming benefits. Oils can be diffused in a machine that resembles a humidifier. They may also be applied topically to alleviate stress and tension (just be sure to dilute with a substance like coconut oil).
  • Magnesium is somewhat of a miracle mineral when it comes to physical and emotional tension. Eating a banana each day, some black beans, or taking 320 mg in supplement form have been shown to promote mental relaxation and better sleep.

Grinding isn’t a small problem. It’s a condition that you want to discuss with your dentist. If you suspect that you may be clenching and grinding, schedule a consultation with us at 585-248-2383. We take specific steps to identify where your jaw should be at rest, and how to keep it there.

Posted in: TMJ / Neuromuscular Dentistry

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