Impact on Oral Health
Consider your mouth like a car on the road – your bite is the car, and the road signifies your autonomic nervous system influenced by stress.
Understanding bruxism (grinding) and Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) is crucial because they significantly impact the lifespan of your fillings and crowns, as well as the risk of fractured teeth.
When asking patients about the causes of grinding or TMJ issues, stress often emerges as the primary answer. Traditionally in dentistry, the focus was on the bite, TMJ joint structure, and associated muscles as the culprits, but recent studies challenge these beliefs, leading to confusion.
The Bite and TMJ as Components
To illustrate, imagine a car on a road. The car symbolizes your bite and TMJ joints, and the road represents your autonomic nervous system affected by stress. Just as balanced tires on a smooth road ensure a smooth journey, a well-aligned bite and a stress-free autonomic system contribute to oral health.
Consequences of Imbalance
Consider a scenario where a car tire has a nail, causing a pressure drop from 35 to 0 PSI – the car stops. Similarly, if your bite isn’t balanced, it continues a problematic path, leading to teeth breakdown, discomfort, and pain.
Addressing Autonomic System Issues
Potholes on the road represent a dysfunctional autonomic system due to stress, which can be addressed with Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback.
By addressing both the car (bite) and the road (stress-related autonomic issues), we ensure a smoother oral health journey, preserving the longevity of dental work, preventing fractured teeth, and alleviating TMJ-associated pain.