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How Stress Can Increase Your Risk for Root Canal Therapy

Posted on July 22, 2021

Our world is going through a historically tough time. We are currently faced with a persistent pandemic, global warming, cyber attacks, difficulty forming new relationships, uncertainty about jobs, and a politically polarized country. What does this add up to? Stress. At Midtown Endodontist, Dr. Lipner sees more and more cases that need his expertise. In the past, most cases came from decayed teeth; now a majority of cases are coming from cracked or traumatized teeth. What is happening?

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of people grinding and clenching their teeth at night, while they are asleep. This condition is known as “bruxism”. 70% of bruxism cases are attributed to stress. 10% of America’s population is suffering from bruxism and this number is growing higher every day. 30% of our population will exhibit aching or clicking in their jaw at some point in their lives. This condition is known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD).

What Happens When You Grind Your Teeth

  1. Tips of the teeth look translucent.
  2. Teeth look flat.
  3. Sharp edges of teeth become dull.
  4. The occlusal plane flattens out.
  5. Interocclusal distance between tip of nose and chin is diminished
  6. Erosion or worn teeth or teeth start to get brown (exposed dentin). 
  7. Enamel (strong, thin white outer layer) is literally ground away.
  8. You Wake up with headaches or migraines regularly
  9. Chronic earaches
  10. Lockjaw
  11. Loose teeth

Etiology of Root Canal Therapy from Grinding

Teeth are composed of

  • An outer layer of thin strong, protective enamel
  • A middle layer of dentin that comprises the bulk of the tooth and is more organic than enamel
  • An inner layer called the pulp chamber that houses an artery, vein, and nerve of the tooth

Stress causes grinding. Grinding causes cracks in the tooth. Cracks cause infection and necrosis (death) of pulp tissue. Infection of pulp tissue leads to pain and possible abscess formation

If decay, a crack, a severe chip, or fracture caused by trauma from grinding invades the sanctity of the pulp, chamber bacteria will come in, and the pulp will become infected. This results in a classic, painful toothache. Root Canal Therapy removes the infected tissue inside the tooth, sterilizes the chamber, and fills the chamber with an inert material (gutta percha) that prevents reinfection.

How to Prevent Grinding

  • Wear a nightguard
  • Reduce stress with…
    • Regular exercise
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
    • Mindful meditation
    • Deep breathing exercises 
    • Yoga
  • Bi-Annual checkups with your dentist

Other Dental Manifestations from Stress

  1. Bleeding gums-gingivitis, periodontitis
  2. Bad breath
  3. Acid reflux
  4. Cheek biting

Choose Midtown Endodontist for Your Root Canal Needs

Midtown Endodontist is headed by the renowned Dr. Steven Lipner. We use the most advanced techniques to treat people in pain and need Root Canal Therapy. Our gentle, reassuring manner sets patients at ease. We are here to help! Call (347) 708-8795 and schedule a free consultation today!


About Dr. Steven Lipner

Dr. Steven Lipner is an experienced Root Canal Specialist in NYC providing his patients with exceptional care. You can see Dr. Lipner at his Midtown East Manhattan practice, LipnerEndo, where he employs the benefits of latest dental technology, from Digital X-rays to High-Powered Microscope to achieve the best results & maximum precision.

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