Elevated stress levels caused by the pandemic have manifested in a variety of physical ailments, like migraines, anxiety, fatigue – and cracked teeth. Some dentists are reporting that they have treated twice as many cracked teeth this year than last year, even though they are seeing fewer patients than usual. What’s going on, and how can this oral health problem be squashed?
What Causes Cracked Teeth?
Cracked teeth are not a symptom or side effect of coronavirus, and the pandemic has not made teeth more fragile. However, increased worries across the board – about health and wellness, the state of the nation, protests, and more – have caused many people to develop stress bruxism and problems with their temporomandibular joint.
The unconscious and involuntary grinding and clenching of teeth – during sleeping or waking hours – can damage tooth enamel and break fillings, crowns, and other dental restorations or cosmetic enhancements. Teeth are incredibly strong, and when they come together to do anything but bite and chew food, the damage can be significant.
Symptoms of Bruxism
For some people, bruxism is a side effect of jaw misalignment. A course of Invisalign or other orthodontic treatment could move teeth and bite into alignment and eliminate the problem of clenching and grinding teeth. A customized mouth guard can also be created, to be worn while sleeping, to prevent teeth from gnashing against each other and doing damage.
Given the conditions we’re currently living in, many people have developed situational or temporary bruxism – a condition brought on by stress alone. Symptoms can include:
- Pain when brushing
- Swelling of the gums
- Lingering tooth pain
- Broken pieces of teeth
- Sore jaw upon waking
- Neck pain
If you’re not sure that you’re grinding your teeth in your sleep, poll you partner if you have one. Sometimes it’s the person who is sitting or sleeping beside you that first notices this audible but unconscious habit.
When to See Your Arlington Dentist
It is understandable to be wary about venturing out of your home during this terrifying time, but dental care is not something to put on the back burner. When you have an oral health problem, you want to have it treated as soon as possible to avoid further complications, more intensive and invasive solutions, and, of course, more pain.
Contact your dentist as soon as possible if you are experiencing any negative side effects from teeth grinding, especially if you have developed a damaged tooth or compromised restoration.
And don’t skip your dental cleanings and exams because of COVID-19. At Dr. Macalik’s dental office in Arlington, we have instituted all safety protocols and precautions to keep our patients and staff safe while making it possible to get the oral health care you need.
Contact us today to schedule your appointment. Whether you need previous dental work repaired or your natural teeth restored, we have the restorative dentistry tools to get the job done quickly, eliminate pain, and prevent further damage to your oral health.