Is Holiday Stress to Blame for your Jaw Pain?

holiday stress

holiday stressSan Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, CA

As your schedule fills with holiday gatherings and parties, preparing for extra life activities can be strenuous. The hustle and bustle of holiday demands can create extreme stress on your time, finances, and patience. For most people, exercise can help cope with the added stress. But, on the other hand, when your stress level becomes incredibly high, your body tries to release it through other methods, ultimately resulting in jaw pain or headaches. Today on the blog, our San Francisco dentists that treat jaw pain at Glen Park Dental explain how holiday stress can be the one to blame for your jaw pain and which treatments can help reduce or alleviate pain.

How does stress affect your oral health?

Unrelieved stress can create oral health conditions like teeth grinding while sleeping, known as bruxism. Many people never realize they grind their teeth because it occurs while they sleep. However, our jaw pain relief dentists in Marin explain that untreated bruxism can lead to many dental complications that could devastate your oral health. For example, when your teeth wear down due to grinding, it could misalign your jaw and result in temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) that causes jaw pain and headaches. Worn teeth also are more likely to feel sensitive or pain when eating, drinking, or biting.

What are some causes of jaw pain?

Patients who relieve stress by grinding their teeth can cause other oral conditions that result in jaw pain.

Below are common jaw pain causes that need investigation and monitoring by a neuromuscular dentist in Oakland

  • Bruxism – As you clench and grind your teeth, tremendous pressure builds and could result in jaw stress or tooth damage. Fortunately, our Bay Area TMJ dentists can create a custom mouthguard to wear while sleeping that absorbs the intense pressure and protects your teeth.
  • TMJ Disorder – The temporomandibular joint is the small round joint that connects the jaw to the skull. Unfortunately, when the joint malfunctions, it could cause significant consequences for your oral health and impact your life quality. Most patients claim they suffer debilitating jaw pain or headaches when they wake from sleeping that can sometimes be manageable with over-the-counter pain medications. However, our San Francisco dentists that treat TMJ disorder inform patients that pain-relieving medication merely masks the underlying problem that will continue and worsen without medical intervention. When you treat the pain source, you could improve jaw pain and headache frequency without medication.
  • Tooth Pain – Navigating your schedule with a toothache can be challenging. Usually, a toothache is an indication that something is wrong, requiring diagnosis and treatment by a Marin dentist. Tooth pain causes include tooth decay, cavities, an infected tooth, or damaged teeth from clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth. When left untreated, the tooth pain can worsen and lead to jaw trauma that could be excruciatingly painful and require additional treatments.

How can I relieve jaw pain?

Jaw pain created by holiday stress can be challenging to manage. Most initial jaw pain cases can attain relief from applying a moist heat compress or ice pack to the jaw area in 10-minute intervals. Additionally, over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can temporarily help reduce the pain. However, to reduce the frequency of your pain, visiting our Oakland neuromuscular dentists is necessary to address the underlying condition. Our highly skilled and experienced team can help restore proper function and form by assessing your bite position, jaw muscles, and supportive soft and hard tissue structures of your temporomandibular joints. Once your muscles, teeth, and jaw are in harmony, associated symptoms of jaw pain or TMJ disorder may disappear.

Jaw Pain Relief in Marin, Oakland, and San Francisco, California

The holidays are a time of fun and togetherness, but they can also create additional life stress your body is unsure how to handle. You may have a busy schedule, but ensure you pencil in time to unwind and intentionally relax to reduce holiday stress. Regular exercise during the holiday season can also help with your stress levels. Feel free to contact our San Francisco TMJ dentists at Glen Park Dental when you notice frequent jaw pain or headaches despite your de-stressing efforts. Call us at (415) 585-1500 or request a consultation online so that we can assess your condition and provide proper treatment.