A known stress reliever that has been well documented in dental literature is clenching or grinding of the teeth, also known as bruxism. It’s generally a subconscious habit that can be difficult to alleviate completely, but it can be managed. During the pandemic, when our stress levels are naturally increased due to the uncertainty of the situation, grinding or clenching your teeth may cause an exacerbation of underlying problems that you may have ignored at other times.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is a problem in which you unconsciously grind or clench your teeth. You may clench and grind your teeth during the day or at night while you sleep (sleep bruxism). You may not even realize you have it. Minor inflammation can be exacerbated by increased pressure from bruxism. As a result, subclinical symptoms that you may not have noticed may become more acute and cause you to seek dental care sooner rather than later.
Tooth Sensitivity and Other Symptoms
Be sure to pay close attention to biting sensitivity and increased temperature sensitivity that lasts for more than a few seconds. It may be an indication of an underlying nerve becoming irreversibly inflamed and/or potentially infected. Unlike other tissue in the body, once the nerve tissue inside the tooth becomes inflamed, it is irreversibly inflamed. It cannot go back to a state of health once that tissue is damaged.
When to Seek Treatment
It would be wise to seek a visit with your dentist if you are uncertain about the symptoms, or if they interfere with your normal activities. For example, maybe you can’t drink a cold glass of water anymore, or you find yourself avoiding biting on one particular side because it is painful. Any disruption in your normal activities is a warning sign that there may be a more serious underlying problem.
Contact Your Philadelphia Endodontist
Dr. Barry Rhome is an experienced endodontist in Philadelphia and has been performing endodontic surgery for over 40 years. If you have any questions about bruxism or other symptoms, please give us a call at 215-735-7113. We look forward to helping you.