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Tooth Stress and Covid-19: The Rise of Bruxism and Fractures

The toll taken on our mental health from living through the pandemic has had a surprising reach. In addition to being cut off from our friends and family, many of us have experienced significant stress. The concern for our family’s health, how to make ends meet when we’re laid off, and adjusting to a life of remote work and schooling has been challenging. There have been many side-effects of enduring these changes observed, even in the dental industry. 

Bruxism: One Dental Sign Of Excess Stress

Bruxism is a medical condition that involves the subconscious gritting and grinding of our teeth. Dentists are the most likely to catch this condition’s presence. This is due to the amount of damage it can cause to our teeth. Some sufferers may first report to their doctors due to an aching jaw or trouble sleeping. However, no sign is as certain as wear and tear on the teeth. This condition is often brought on by unusual and persistent stress. That kind of stress is certainly more common than it was before the start of the pandemic.  

It’s important to note that not every instance of clenched teeth is a case of bruxism. It’s not uncommon to clench our teeth when concentrating or in a periodic moment of high stress. But ongoing, uncontrolled clenching and grinding can negatively affect our overall oral health. Even mild grinding insufficient to harm the teeth can lead to sore jaws, headaches, and even migraines.

Common Symptoms of Bruxism Include:

  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Tooth fractures
  • Reduced Oral Mobility
  • Discomfort when talking and/or chewing
  • Molar wear
  • Damaged oral restorations

Bruxism can be caused by factors other than stress, however. During the pandemic, many people have been shifted to work in a home office. This has led to these individuals setting up make-shift spaces to work. Some may not have appropriate space or may opt to spend their day on an unpadded kitchen chair. Not only can this cause pain in the back and neck, but posture can also be affected. This change in posture is another known cause of teeth grinding.

In a case of circular symptoms, bruxism can also make it difficult to sleep well. The pressure we exert on our jaws and teeth can lead to a persistent ache that keeps us awake. This ache can lead to bouts of insomnia, leaving us irritable, exhausted, and even more stressed. Inadequate sleep alone can cause dental grinding, so it certainly doesn’t help when unusual stress is also present. Dentists have been reporting the appearance of an increasing number of stressed and fractured teeth in their offices.

Speak To Your Dentist About Bruxism

Your dentist will be an important source of information about bruxism and how to treat it. They have extensive experience identifying the signs and can provide options to manage them. One common treatment option involves the use of a mouthguard. These mouth guards help to protect your teeth from the grinding and can even stop you from grinding your teeth altogether. Schedule a consultation with your dentist to get advice on putting an end to your bruxism symptoms today!

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