Ask the Doctor: The effects of stress during the holiday season - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

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Ask the Doctor: The effects of stress during the holiday season

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Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 10:40 am

Family coming to visit, last minute shopping, and Christmas parties often leave people more stressed then happy once the holiday season appears. Without being aware of it people are clenching and grinding their teeth. This happens during the day and at night causing muscles aches especially in the back, neck and jaw.

What are the negative affects of grinding or clenching?

Grinding and clenching will wear down or even fracture your teeth. It’s not only difficult to restore wearing of teeth but it’s additional dental expenses. It is important to address the problem up front, especially if it is happening frequently.

How can I prevent clenching or grinding?

Being aware of it is the first step to prevention. If you are aware that you are grinding or clenching your teeth during the day make the conscious effort to try and stop. Often times the grinding and clenching is triggered by stress. It is an involuntary action that occurs but it can be stopped. Wearing a mouth guard during the known stress related times of the day will also help protect the teeth.

If you are clenching or grinding at night that is different. You may wake up with facial muscle pain or a headache. A night guard can help protect the teeth at night. Often, I will recommend my patients to talk to their primary care physician, because there is often other health issues that may cause that.

Who is the doctor?

Dr. Rashmi Bhatnagar, D.M.D., who is referred to as Dr. B, is the primary doctor at this office. She graduated from the University of Pittsburg School of Dental Medicine, and did her advanced residency at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. She has been practicing for over 13 years and continues to do about 200 hours of continued education per year.

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