Excessive stress from biting and chewing can wear down the teeth, making them less effective in those functions and creating the potential for tooth loss.
A certain amount of bite stress is expected with chewing, and the teeth are designed to withstand forces within normal limits.
When the forces are outside of the expected levels, problems will arise, and they will likely need to be addressed by your Plano dentist.
If you present with signs of excessive bite stress, your dentist will ask questions about your daily habits that may reveal the cause of the stress.
For example, chewing on non-food items, such as pencils, may cause bite stress. Participating in sports, especially contact sports, can contribute to bite stress, as hits to the face can cause the teeth to come together with unusually high impact.
Sometimes the excessive bite stress occurs while the patient is asleep and completely unaware of it. Bruxism, or grinding of the teeth during sleep, is associated with unexplained wear on the teeth along with jaw pain or headaches upon waking.
In other cases, the bite stress may result from misaligned jaws that do not meet properly during chewing.
If the bite stress is due merely to bad chewing habits, the fix is probably a simple one involving a behavioral intervention designed to break the habit.
Emotional stress can also lead to bite stress. If that’s true in your case, your dentist may recommend that you use stress management techniques, like meditation or deep breathing, or potentially refer you to a therapist or physician for treatment.
For patients with bruxism, other interventions may be recommended. For example, the dentist may prescribe a bite plate to be worn at night. Similarly athletes with excessive bite stress should wear custom-designed mouthguards, such as those from the Under Armour Performance Mouthwear line, to protect themselves while they are at play.
Bite stress due to malocclusions also requires broader treatment, either with orthodontics to realign the jaws, or surgery in severe cases.
If you have noticed unexplained wear on your teeth or you have mysterious jaw pain or headaches, contact the Plano dental office of Dr. John M. Hucklebridge today.