Social Anxiety Can Damage Your Teeth
According to new research, social anxiety can cause people to experience involuntary bruxism and suffer damage to their teeth and jaws. Although we can’t necessarily protect your teeth from the results of anxiety, we can help minimize and even repair damage.
Surveys and Dental Exams
In this study by researchers at Tel Aviv University, 75 men and women were given questionnaires about their experience with social anxiety. The study group was then divided into two groups: the 40 that experienced social phobia and the 35 that didn’t. All subjects were then given comprehensive psychiatric and dental exams. Researchers were looking at bruxism symptoms and oral habits, such as nail biting, gum chewing, and jaw play–small jaw movements without teeth contact.
Researchers found that people with social anxiety were more likely to have moderate-to-severe dental wear and symptoms of awake bruxism (42.1% and 42.5%, respectively) than controls (28.6% and 3%). Jaw play was also found in 32.5% in the phobia group and 12.1% in the control group.
A Psychological and Physical Disorder
Researchers pointed out that bruxism seems to be at least partly a psychological disorder. However, there are also physical causes of bruxism. An uncomfortable or poorly matched bite can lead to bruxism as your jaw muscles are trying to find a comfortable position when your teeth don’t allow your jaw to fit together in a position that fosters balance among your muscles.
Bruxism can also cause damage to the temporomandibular joint, resulting in TMJ. Once TMJ has developed, bruxism can continue even if the initial underlying cause–such as social phobia–is removed.
Repairing Damage from Bruxism
If you have suffered tooth wear and other damage due to bruxism, we can help repair it. Reconstructive and cosmetic dentistry procedures like dental crowns and porcelain veneers can be used to repair damage to your teeth.
TMJ treatment can be used to attempt to reverse or slow damage to your temporomandibular joint as well as easing stress in the jaw muscles that can result from bruxism.
If you would like to learn more about reversing the consequences of bruxism because of social anxiety or other causes, please call (303) 759-5652 for an appointment with a Denver TMJ dentist at Park Meadows Dental Care today.