If left untreated, orthodontic problems can result in tooth decay, gum disease, headaches and earaches, as well as speaking, biting or chewing problems.
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Are you worried about getting your taxes done this year? Have too many things on your "to-do" list and not enough time to do it? Are you planning a move? All of these situations cause stress, which could lead to tooth grinding or clenching, and eventually to temporomandibular disorder (TMD), reports the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing education.
Overloading the tiny muscles in your jaw can cause TMD. "When people have a lot of responsibility, stress may manifest with symptoms such as tightened jaw muscles without realizing it," says E. Mac Edington, DDS, MAGD, ABGD, past president of the AGD. "Over short periods of time, the habit is not detrimental."
Updated: November 2008
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