Stress and Jaw Pain – Are the Two Connected?

stress and jaw pain

stress and jaw painSan Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, CA

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred an economic recession affecting mental health and wellbeing for many adults. According to a KFF Health Tracking Poll, as many as 4 out of every 10 adults experienced anxiety or depression during the pandemic. Isolation, job loss, and learning to navigate life during a pandemic were new for everybody. And not everyone handled the pandemic as lightly as others. Stress can affect your overall health and is known to cause chronic pain, including in the jaw. Today on the blog, our TMJ doctors in the Bay Area at Glen Park Dental share what stress and jaw pain have in common and how to get relief if you have TMJ disorder or anxiety.

Stress is nothing new. Long before the pandemic, many people dealt with panic disorders, anxiety, and depression, although COVID-19 made these disorders worse or caused symptoms to appear for the first time in some adults. Stress and anxiety negatively affect one’s health and can lead to restless sleep, weight gain, and more. In some individuals, jaw pain could be connected to stress, and people already dealing with TMJ disorder could also experience heightened levels of stress and anxiety. Here’s how.

Stress causes muscles in the body to tense. The jaw muscles aren’t exempt from this phenomenon. In fact, people dealing with stress may find themselves clenching and grinding or gnashing their teeth while asleep or during the day. You may be unaware that you do it, although bruxism has telltale signs such as headaches upon waking up, tooth sensitivity, gum recession, and jaw pain. If you experience bruxism symptoms, it’s important to see a TMJ dentist in San Francisco.

How to reduce jaw pain if you’re stressed

There are simple ways to protect your teeth and reduce jaw joint pain if you are stressed and have bruxism. Ideally, you should try to reduce the stressors in your life. Although that isn’t always the easiest thing to do, it can sometimes take a long time. If you’re stressed, it’s ideal to avoid or decrease your caffeine and alcohol intake, get plenty of rest, and ensure you exercise daily and eat a healthy diet. Aside from these lifestyle modifications, the Bay Area TMJ dentists at Glen Park Dental offer a custom-made oral appliance that can be worn while sleeping to reduce friction between your teeth and relieves the jaw joint muscles, preventing stress on the jaw joints and relieving discomfort.

What does jaw pain have to do with stress?

If you already have TMJ disorder, it could be the root cause of your stress and anxiety. Untreated TMJ disorder may cause chronic pain, which could be stressful, especially if you’re searching for the best physician to treat TMJ disorder in San Francisco. It can be stressful dealing with chronic pain, especially if you aren’t getting any answers from the doctors. TMJ disorder can be managed by a doctor specializing in neuromuscular dentistry, like the ones on staff at Glen Park Dental. Our dentists have undergone extensive training in neuromuscular dentistry, which focuses on establishing a proper bite and oral rest position to encourage healthy and pain-free jaw joints. If you’re experiencing headaches, jaw pain, or dental pain and believe you may have TMJ disorder, consider scheduling a consultation with Glen Park Dental by calling (415) 585-1500. Our Bay Area neuromuscular dentists can help manage jaw joint or TMJ pain by prescribing a custom-made oral appliance to wear while sleeping. The appliance is adjustable and helps establish a comfortable bite so that your jaw joints align properly. If you’re in the areas of Marin, Oakland, or San Francisco, contact Glen Park Dental today for a TMJ evaluation.