Dental Health Through Balance
Dental Health Through Balance
Gnawing discomfort. That persistent jaw pain. It may present at the end of a seemingly good day with symptoms of stiff jaw, sore cheek muscles, tender teeth and headaches. Perhaps it continues to grit while you sleep, squeezing out any chance of waking up restful and relaxed. This common practice of clenching and/or grinding your teeth is both a behavioral and structural condition of imbalance.
What we unknowingly do to ourselves when we live without balance can lead to destructive behavior with disastrous consequences. Many individuals take the stress of daily life out on their teeth. The evidence is clear when you present yourself at your regular dental hygiene visit. Small round wear-facets, shiny spots and chipping, reveal hours of teeth clamped together. Beaver-like notches or indentations at the gum line are called abfractions, confirming the consistent rocking back and forth of a tooth. Clenchers are literally “chomping at the bit”. These are permanent defects in the enamel and in some cases may lead to tooth loss. Another clue to clenching, a behavioral imbalance, is sore enamel to the touch. Perhaps your teeth/enamel is very sensitive during your hygiene cleaning? Sensitive cleanings are unfortunate and can lead to many individuals avoiding having their teeth cleaned on a regular basis. Therefore, they risk losing all the health benefits of healthy maintained teeth and gums. This does not have to be a permanent situation. With desensitizing techniques your Dental Hygienist can help you work through these uncomfortable appointments towards pain free maintenance visits.
Awareness is when we are able to recognize what we are doing. We observe ourselves, noticing our reactions, actions and choices as if we were a detached viewer. For many years I have helped clients become aware of their destructive behavior on their dentition, providing guidance toward preventative techniques. Perhaps a Dentist may prescribe you a brux appliance that will help you to not damage your teeth during clenching/grinding episodes. Unfortunately, these appliances don’t always stop you from your damaging habit; as a result, you may need to also work on your “physical alignment” as well as your “mental balance”.
Teeth that are not properly structurally aligned create what is called ”malocclusion”. Untreated malocclusion can lead to cold sensitivity, food getting caught between teeth, biting lips, teeth or tongue, speech changes or lisping and bad breath, long dental procedures and expensive treatments. If you have malocclusion, it may also affect your periodontal health because it is difficult to remove food and bacteria (plaque or biofilm) when teeth are not aligned. Severe periodontal infection, often indicated by bleeding gums, if untreated, may increase the risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, complications of diabetes, adverse pregnancy outcomes and respiratory disease.
Straightening your teeth can make a significant difference to having a healthy mouth and keeping your teeth for life. A dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment, crown and bridge or possibly Invisalign retainers.
There is a freedom that comes with awareness. Rather than thinking that we are stuck in a repetitive cycle of pain or poor health, we begin to see that we very much create our own lives. Whether we are aware of them or not, our behaviors and choices are always ours to make. We can choose good dental health through balance.
See you in the chair.
BPHE, BA Bio, CDA, RDH