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Stress & Wellbeing

With today’s economic and social pressures, more and more people describe themselves as being stressed. Did you know that stress can contribute to a number of health problems, including several related to your oral health?

Stress-Related Dental Health Problems

There are a number of different reasons why someone might develop any of the following dental health problems; however, research has made important links between each of these and stress.


Grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw often affecting people at night or whilst concentrating on a task.


  • flattened, worn down teeth
  • broken teeth, fillings or crowns
  • toothache with no apparent cause
  • jaw pain, headaches and earaches
  • tooth enamel is rubbed off, causing sensitivity
  • indentations on your tongue and/or cheeks

Treatment Options

  • Custom-made mouthguard to be worn at night
  • Relaxation therapies (meditation, counselling, massage therapy, exercice etc.)
  • Reduction in the consumption of stimulants such as coffee & tobacco

Cracks or breaks in the teeth, often as a result of bruxism.

Treatment Options

Depending on the type of crack, we may be able to:

  • Fill the crack
  • Smooth away or repair a small chip
  • Place a veneer
  • Place a crown over the tooth
  • In some cases, the tooth may need to be extracted and so we might suggest, a bridge, implant, denture etc. to replace the missing tooth/teeth.

Jaw Pain (Temporo-mandibular Disorders)

Soreness around the jaw and face, headaches, as well as neck and shoulder pain, often as a result of bruxism.

Treatment Options

  • Night-time mouthguard
  • Orthodontic treatment
  • Relaxation therapies (meditation, counseling, massage)
  • Facial exercises

Migraine Headaches

Research has made some connections between migraine headaches and oro-facial pain. People who suffer from migraines may also be more likely to suffer from jaw pain, tooth grinding, clenching, and/or a poor alignment (the way your teeth fit together when your jaw is closed).

Dental-related triggers of migraines are often overlooked so it is a good idea to let us know if you are suffering from chronic headaches. That way, we can assess if any dental treatment may help to ease your suffering. If you are grinding or clenching at night, we will recommend a night guard. This will both protect your teeth from wear and also ease the pressure on the muscles around your jaw.

Chronic migraine can sometimes be mistaken for sinusitis. For example, we have noticed that some patients have been treated for ongoing sinusitis while the actual cause of their migraines is dental-related. If this is the case, your treatment would be quite different from that of sinusitis. Our team will help you to get to the root of your problem and address the cause.

In ongoing chronic pain cases, we refer patients to Dr. Dermot Canavan who holds a clinical certificate in orofacial pain management.

Other Problems

People who are frequently stressed are often seen to have an increased risk of developing conditions such as:

  • Periodontal disease (gum disease)
  • Mouth ulcers (painful sores on the inside of the mouth and lips)
  • Dry mouth (lack of saliva)
  • Burning mouth syndrome (hot feeling or sensation causing pain)

Relieving Stress

The simplest way to relieve stress is by eliminating or reducing the source of the stress. As this is rarely possible, it is a good idea to seek strategies that help you cope with stressful situations to minimise the impact on your health. If you are feeling stressed, feel free to speak to our team and we would be happy to discuss some of these strategies and treatment options with you.

Neck & Shoulder Massage – Foam Roller

Foam rollers are a good way to massage neck or other muscles that have become sore or stiff due to stress. They work by laying down on the roller and rolling gently on the floor; allowing you to apply pressure to the areas that need relief. You can choose soft to hard rollers depending on your needs and they can be a great way to help you relax at the end of a difficult day.

Shoulder Stretches – Broomstick

You can stretch your shoulders and increase your flexibility using something as simple as a broomstick. Hold the broomstick above your head with both hands and a wide grip then move the broomstick down behind your shoulders keeping arms slightly flexed. Hold here for 20-30  seconds. You can also add a twist while holding the broomstick (keeping your feet in place) to stretch some of your back muscles. As your flexibility increases you can choose a closer grip distance.

Jaw Exercises 

1. Open your mouth a little. Place the palm of your right hand on the right side of your jaw, at the same time, slide your lower jaw toward your hand. Push gently against it, creating resistance to the sideways movement — hold for five seconds then relax. Repeat this with your left palm against the left side of your jaw. Repeat five times on each side.

2. Relaxing your mouth, stick out your lower jaw in a straight, forward direction while placing your palm against your chin to create resistance. Hold for five seconds then relax. Repeat five times.

3. Open your mouth as wide as you can, then slowly close it. After that, open your jaw and focus on opening up the left side of your mouth as wide as you can. Slowly close your mouth and repeat for the right side.

4. Place three fingers just in front of and below your ears. Use a gentle circular motion to massages the masseter muscles of your jaw for about 10 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times. You can also try this massage on your temples but be careful not to apply too much pressure.

Any questions?

We are experienced and sympathetic in dealing with each patient’s anxieties and pride ourselves on developing a personal relationship with our patients.

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