How to Minimize Bite Stress
Excessive bite stress (along with tooth decay and periodontal disease) is one of three main reasons teeth fail. Excessive bite stress in the absence of periodontal disease is known in dental terms as primary occlusal trauma. Excessive stress on the teeth and jaw joints (temporomandibular joints, or TMJs) occurs in response to heavy jaw muscle contraction forces. The origin of these forces varies, but commonly involves one or more of the following:
- Emotional stress, leading to clenching or grinding (bruxing) of the jaws/teeth
- Parafunctional habits (using the teeth for purposes other than chewing food for nutrition)
- Frequent chewing of very hard or sticky foods
- Misalignment or crowding of the dental arches, resulting in improper distribution of bite forces.