When we chew and bite, a great deal of stress is put on our teeth. Though the teeth and jawbone are built to stand up to this kind of pressure, excessive bite stress can lead to abnormal wear and tear as well as tooth damage and damage to the jaw joints. If you experience excessive bite stress, your dentist can help reduce it to prevent damage to your teeth and jaw.
Causes of Excessive Bite Stress
Excessive bite stress occurs when force is exerted on the teeth beyond that normally used for biting and chewing. This force is exerted when the jaw muscles contract repeatedly or are held in a contracted position for a period of time, for example when you grind or clench your teeth. Some causes of bite stress include:
- Stress and tension that lead to clenching and grinding
- Biting non-food objects, like pencils or pens
- Chewing sticky or hard foods on a regular basis
- Jaw misalignment that causes stress to be unevenly distributed
This type of bite stress can lead to long-term, serious side effects that can cause tooth damage or even tooth loss. Your dentist can determine if you are experiencing bite stress during your regular visits to the dental office for checkups. [pullquote]If your dentist notices signs of excessive bite stress, she will recommend treatment based on its apparent causes.[/pullquote]
Treatment for Excessive Bite Stress
If your dentist notices signs of excessive bite stress, she will recommend treatment based on its apparent causes. If you are clenching and grinding your teeth due to stress or tension, he might recommend relaxation techniques or lifestyle changes. Changing your habits, if those habits contribute to the stress on your teeth, can also help, so if you habitually chew on ice or excessively hard foods, eliminate this habit to protect your teeth.
Bite stress caused by misalignment should be treated by your dentist or orthodontist. You might require braces or other orthodontic procedures to return your teeth to proper alignment. This type of treatment can also help reduce stress on the jaw joints to prevent or treat temporomandibular joint disorder.
For more tips on managing bite stress, contact our team at Bliss Dental today.