How Stress Can Impact Our Teeth

Categories: TMJ/TMD Treatment

stress and your smileThere are no two ways about it: Stress has a negative impact on our bodies. From problems such as depression to high blood pressure, stress makes our bodies at risk for disease. But what about the impact stress has on our smiles? You might be surprised to learn that there are dental problems that are linked to stress:

Teeth Grinding
It’s no surprise that teeth grinding (bruxism) is bad for teeth. It starts with enamel wear, then loose teeth, and eventually tooth loss. During this progression, there may be other problems such as gum recession, headaches, and TMD (Temporomandibular Disorders). If you grind your teeth, it’s important to address this condition as soon as possible. In addition to stress, there are many factors that can cause or exacerbate bruxism. These include: malocclusion (bad bite), sleep apnea, and prescription depression and anxiety medications.

Your dentist may prescribe an appliance to protect your teeth and keep your jaw in the proper position while you are sleeping. Other treatments include cognitive behavior therapy, relaxation therapies, mandibular advancement devices, and medication. Your dentist can create a treatment plan and work with you and your doctor to reduce or eliminate this behavior.

Temporomandibular Disorders
There are many direct and indirect causes of TMD. For example, inability to manage stress may cause jaw clenching which, in turn, causes pain in the jaw joint. Other symptoms of TMD include tenderness, pain, or swelling in the neck, ear, face, or shoulder; popping or clicking sounds; and changes in bite alignment. Again, if you experience any of these, talk to your dentist.


Tooth pain and untreated dental issues will only give you something else to worry about. Let’s nip this vicious cycle in the bud.

I’m Our Dentist. Call Sleep Apnea and TMJ Solutions at 615-928-2838. Let’s determine the status of your oral health, schedule treatment if required, and create a plan to restore and maintain a healthy smile–and a good night’s sleep.