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We all experience stress during our lives. It may come from your career as well as personal and family sources. Stress manifests in different ways for different people. One common way that it appears is problematic for your oral health.

When you become anxious, for any reason, clenching of the jaw and grinding of the teeth becomes a way that the mind and body relieve stress. Bruxism is the technical term. You may not notice when you are doing it. The jaw clenching normally happens during the day, and would be most noticeable, while teeth grinding most often occurs at night. This makes it more difficult to recognize. If you suspect you are doing this, you might ask someone, a friend or family member, to monitor you at night. Another modern suggestion would be to set up a camera to record it for confirmation.

A potential sign that this is becoming a problem could be sore jaw muscles when you wake. Also, if this has been an ongoing issue for some time, your teeth may become sensitive to hot and cold temperatures due to the wearing down of the enamel on the teeth. You might need to see your dentist to fully determine that clenching and grinding is the issue. Your dentist can see the signs if you have worn the enamel down, or if there are cracks or chips on your teeth. If so, she may prescribe a mouthguard to wear when you sleep, or suggest anti-anxiety medication if you reveal that you’re undergoing a stressful period in your life.

If you need an evaluation for teeth clenching or grinding, Dr. Cindy Wassif would be happy to help you. Please contact Wassif Family & Cosmetic Dentistry to make an appointment at: 410-687-1162, or come by our office in Middle River, Maryland.