Lifewatch: Grinding teeth

Reported by Claire Hosmann - email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - The wear and tear may be showing up in your teeth if the battered economy is stressing you out.

Alan Franco is in the business of wealth management, and when he opens his mouth, his dentist says she sees the result of a stressful job.

"Though many people want to deny that it's related to stress, I definitely see a correlation between stress and grinding," said Dr. Jane Puskas.

Puskas says teeth grinding, or Bruxism, is a common condition affecting nearly half her patients.

"Bruxism is when your tooth grinding is not a normal pattern," said Puskas.  "You're clenching or grinding them together, not to chew but to rub your teeth together."

Puskas said it happens most often at night when patients sleep and they aren't even aware of the habit until they start feeling symptoms.

"Generalized tooth pain, jaw pain, headaches, difficulty opening, sometimes you'll hear noise in the T-M-J and even sometimes temperature sensitivity," said Puskas.

Puskas recommends a custom-made mouth guard that is worn at night.  Alan started using one over a year ago, and his dentist already sees the difference.

If left untreated, Bruxism can lead to worn down, flattened, or chipped teeth.