Recently, scientists have found that more people than ever are experiencing head and neck pain from immense stress due to increased anxiety regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, dental offices are seeing a sharp rise in patients with tooth grinding, facial pain and broken teeth. But how can stress cause tooth decay, and what can patients do to get relief?
This article will explain stress' adverse effects on teeth and how receiving therapeutic Botox in specific facial areas can help eliminate headaches, migraines, bruxism, clenching and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders without any further treatment. Have you ever wondered, "Why do my teeth hurt when I'm stressed?" or "Can stress cause tooth decay?" Keep reading to discover the answers you've been searching for.
Are You Experiencing Head and Neck Pain From Teeth Grinding and Jaw Clenching?
Often, we can trace unexplained head and neck pain back to teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Bruxism, the official term for grinding, gnashing or clenching the teeth, can occur unconsciously either during the daytime or at night while you're sleeping. Though the condition may be mild enough to not require treatment, frequent and severe teeth grinding or clenching can lead to health issues like headaches, jaw disorders and damaged teeth.
TMJ disorders can also bring about headaches and neck pain. Because this joint connects the jawbone to the skull, TMJ disorders involve jaw joint pain and discomfort in the muscles that control jaw movement. Many people with a TMJ disorder also regularly grind or clench their teeth, adding to their pain.
Though doctors do not fully understand what causes bruxism or TMJ disorders, the conditions often link to intense emotions like anger, tension, frustration and stress. Excessive anxiety can lead you to clench and grind your teeth during the day and throughout the night.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue of stress- and anxiety-induced bruxism has increased significantly. Research has found that the stressors of a constant threat of illness, social isolation and economic concerns can contribute to adverse health conditions such as bruxism and TMJ disorders.
Specifically, the prevalence of people clenching their jaws during the day rose from about 17% before the pandemic to 32% after COVID-19 became an international issue. Nightly teeth grinding also increased from about 10% to 36% over initial COVID-19 lockdowns. The severity of the symptoms associated with these conditions also went up by approximately 15%.
While the COVID-19 pandemic may have prompted a sharp uptick in stress, anyone stressed or anxious about balancing conditions and emotions at any time is susceptible to bruxism and jaw clenching. Addressing these issues as early as possible is crucial because severe cases of teeth grinding and jaw clenching can lead to irreversible dental damage like worn-down enamel and broken teeth.
Because you can have a TMJ disorder or bruxism and be unaware of it until further health complications develop — especially with sleep bruxism — it is crucial to recognize the common signs and symptoms to catch the conditions early. If you experience any of the following symptoms, consider seeking professional dental attention:
- - Pain, tenderness or soreness in the jaw
- - Headaches around the temples
- - Tight jaw muscles or a locked jaw
- - Aching facial pain
- - Aches and pains in or around your ears
- - Worn-down tooth enamel
- - Flattened, chipped, fractured or loose teeth
- - Difficulty or pain when chewing, or damage from chewing the inside of your cheek
If you wake up with unexplained pain around the head or a stiff neck, there is a chance you grind or clench your teeth throughout the night. Be aware of these symptoms and talk with your dentist if they persist.
How Professionals Can Help
If you experience intense bruxism, suffer from chronic jaw pain or notice tooth decay or any other symptoms due to clenching, make sure you mention it at your next dental appointment. Your dentist or doctor will be able to diagnose the issue and suggest the appropriate procedure for treating your bruxism or TMJ disorder pain.
In most cases, non-surgical remedies can alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by TMJ disorders or bruxism. Botox injections are among the most effective non-invasive treatments for a sore jaw and head or neck pain from a TMJ disorder or bruxism. Because Botox can help the jaw relax, getting these injections can mitigate tooth pain from stress and anxiety.
In particular, Botox shots targeting the mouth's chewing muscles can block the signals that make them contract, which relieves many symptoms of grinding and clenching teeth. Recent studies have shown Botox injections are a safe and effective way of addressing bruxism and TMJ disorders.
In a placebo-controlled trial of using Botox to treat patients suffering from severe teeth grinding while asleep, participants who had received Botox injections reported less pain and fewer symptoms overall. Those who had not received any Botox injections saw no improvement in their symptoms or pain. These results indicate Botox may become the treatment of choice for minimizing head and jaw pain from clenching teeth.
Other common treatments for bruxism and TMJ disorders include mouth guards and undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy to break a jaw-clenching habit. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be an effective treatment technique by addressing the underlying anxiety that makes teeth feel weird or sore due to clenching. On the other hand, mouth guards can protect the teeth from damage overnight, but may not prevent the clenching and grinding.
Make an Appointment With Clinicians Trained in Botox Treatments
If you're looking for a place to receive safe and effective Botox treatment for pain caused by teeth grinding and jaw clenching, consider the premium dental Botox services offered by Specialized Dentistry of New Jersey (SDNJ). At SDNJ, our clinicians have received specific training and certification to use Botox to help relieve dental and jaw pain.
As Botox continues to grow as an effective form of treatment for jaw pain and clenching, SDNJ has remained ahead of the curve by staying current on Botox dental solutions. With strategic Botox injections, we can eliminate your migraines, earaches, tooth pain and other jaw-clenching symptoms. Addressing jaw clenching as early as possible can also prevent tooth decay caused by stress.
To learn more about the benefits of Botox injections for alleviating jaw pain or to schedule a treatment session with SDNJ, complete this contact form or call 732-410-7101 today.