It’s a common image that being a movie star is a cushy line of work, but that’s belied by all the serious training that many movie stars undertake to get themselves ready for their roles. Sure, you might laugh about how hard is it to eat more doughnuts and bacon to put on weight for roles, but then you have to imagine how hard it is to take the weight off again!

And what some celebrities do these days to get themselves fit to perform their own stunts is serious. Just ask Charlize Theron, who was actually working so hard that she cracked two of her teeth during training for the upcoming Atomic Blonde. Unlike other movie stars who might have gotten hit in the mouth, Theron actually cracked her teeth because she was clenching her teeth too hard–neuromuscular dentistry explains why, and shows us what we can do to keep you from cracking your teeth.

Photograph of Charlize Theron

The Neuromuscular Secret to Strength

Atomic Blonde is one of this summer’s big-budget tentpoles, an action thriller set during the Cold War and focusing on an MI-6 agent who has to retrieve a list of double agents from Berlin after a colleague is murdered there. When Theron decided she wanted to do her own stunts, she had to work hard to get herself fit for the role.

It was so intense that she worked for several months with eight different trainers to build up her strength and agility. It was early on in the process that she cracked her teeth. She explained in an interview, “When I trained, I cracked two teeth in the back of my mouth, clenching while fighting, because apparently my arm strength wasn’t strong enough.”

So, wait, you might be saying, how is her lack of arm strength related to teeth clenching. That’s where neuromuscular dentistry comes in. Neuromuscular dentistry looks at the interrelationship between the jaw, the teeth, the muscles, the nerves, and other tissues that work together in the bite system. One of the insights of neuromuscular dentistry is that the jaw muscles aren’t just used for chewing and talking. As the strongest muscles in the head, they play an essential role in stabilizing the core. The jaw plays an essential role as a bony anchor that helps anchor the head and neck muscles, which in turn work with muscles in the arm and shoulder. When the body is trying to muster all its strength, you may clench your jaw to provide maximum stability, and this can put excessive force on your teeth, which can cause them to crack.

How to Protect Your Teeth

If you want to avoid damaging your teeth similar to the way that Theron did, there are a few steps you should take.

Make Sure Your Bite Is Balanced: An imbalanced bite will subject some of your teeth to more force than others. In this disproportionate bite, you’re more likely to fracture one or more teeth. A neuromuscular dentist can use technology like T-Scan to measure the exact force on each tooth. If the forces are imbalanced, a neuromuscular dentist can balance the forces to protect your teeth.

Don’t Work Yourself Too Hard: Tooth clenching injuries are a sign that you’re trying to push yourself past your limits. If you are doing this, you can injure yourself seriously–and not just your teeth, either! Take training at a reasonable pace and build up to the levels you want to reach.

Wear a Mouthguard: You might think that mouthguards are just for contact sports, but obviously your teeth can get injured without direct trauma. Wearing a mouthguard during sports that force you to push your limits, such as  weightlifting, can protect your teeth from chipping and wear.

Are you looking to protect your teeth from injury? Or have you already experienced a tooth injury and you are looking for attractive restorations in Fairfax County? Either way, please call 703-323-8200 today for an appointment with Dr. Pamela Marzban in Burke, VA.