First Responders Dealing with Stress–How it’s Wrecking your Teeth

Categories: TMJ/TMD

Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley CA

During the COVID-19 pandemic, first responders are under a great deal of stress. Right now, these individuals could be suffering incredibly high levels of stress as they tirelessly serve their communities. Stress from your job could lead to additional health concerns if it is not dealt with appropriately. Our neuromuscular dentists in Scotts Valley at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry are sharing how COVID-19 stress could be weighing heavy on first responders, and what we can do to help.

How Stress Affects Your Body

Stress can lead to various health ailments, from recurring headaches to interference with your circulatory and immune system. It’s essential to de-stress or decompress if you’re dealing with a lot of stress. For example, if you are a first responder working during the coronavirus pandemic, you may become stressed because of the long work hours, or experiences you have been through while helping others cope with their health issues. If you do not have a healthy outlet to release stress, your body will find ways to cope, and it may end up wrecking your oral health or compromising your overall health. Find out how stress may be causing jaw pain, teeth grinding, and insufficient sleep.

What is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder is a condition where your jaw joints are out of alignment, causing jaw pain severe headaches, facial pain, ringing in your ears, worn or damaged teeth, and dizziness. Patients with TMJ disorder often clench and grind their teeth at night, which is a condition known as bruxism. Stress can make both conditions worse. The good news is that TMJ specialists in Scotts Valley at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry offer ways to help manage TMJ disorder, and protect your teeth against the devastating effects of bruxism.

Why is it essential to protect my teeth against bruxism?

Left untreated, bruxism could significantly damage your teeth, causing teeth to become worn down, crack, or break. While you may not be able to reduce your stress right now, the most important thing you could do is protect your teeth. Bruxism often is treated with a custom-fitted oral appliance that you wear to take the pressure off your jaw and relieve tension. Custom-made guards, or “neuromuscular orthotics”, are superior to the store-bought varieties because they are made based on your own muscle physiology to place your bite in a position that is comfortable for your jaw joints and muscles. Store-bought guards can actually exacerbate the condition.

How does stress affect sleep?

Aside from jaw pain or clenching and grinding your teeth, stress may also affect your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep apnea is a common airway disorder that causes your body to stop breathing for at least 10 seconds at a time while you are sleeping. Many people with sleep apnea are unaware that they have it because they don’t completely wake up during these apneic episodes. But you may experience other symptoms, such as daytime sleepiness, the inability to concentrate during the day, or morning headaches. Untreated sleep apnea could lead to other health concerns such as heart attack, hypertension, cognitive impairment, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. To find out if you suffer from sleep apnea, contact Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry to inquire about a sleep apnea screening in Scotts Valley.

Dentists in Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley, California

As a first responder, stress related to the coronavirus pandemic could cause oral health issues if you choose not to seek treatment. TMJ disorder, bruxism, and sleep apnea often are related. Don’t let stress wreck your teeth, or your health. If you are a first responder who is waking up with jaw pain or severe headaches, feel free to contact your neuromuscular specialists in Scotts Valley at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry by calling (831) 824-5111 or request an appointment online to discuss your situation. Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry wants to thank all of the first responders and medical professionals working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate your hard work. It does not go unnoticed!