After 3 plus months of seeing only Dental Emergencies only, it’s no wonder that the type of dental issues we are seeing in the office has changed. Changed for, unfortunately, the worse, particularly for our patients.
Call it Corona Cracks or Stress Fractures, but it’s happening A LOT! Since we reopened our practices on June 1, at least once a day we are adding patients to the schedule with the same story
“ I was eating something and felt something hard and it was my tooth!”
We are busier than ever seeing an uptick of a different kind of patient. Our very preventative-oriented patients are calling with concerns about nighttime and daytime clenching and grinding, migraines, sore cheeks, and clicking and popping of the jaw resulting in pain.
Why the change you ask?
Well, the answer seems obvious. WE ARE IN A PANDEMIC!! This is a stressful time! IT’S GOT TO BE STRESS! Routines have changed, mental states have changed, and bad habits are on the rise!
What can you do to protect your teeth and prevent damage?
Keep up with preventative care! Don’t let your good brushing and flossing habits fall off the wagon. It’s easy to forget these things when hours run into days and days run into weeks and months while working/studying from home. Make it a point to follow a routine that includes self-care even though it is much easier to roll out of bed and get on a laptop. Wear and clean your prescribed retainers or guards so that you are protecting your teeth from physical stress.
Don’t forget to make those four or six-month cleaning appointments as prescribed by your dentist. Your dentist can spot wear and tear on your teeth as well as signs of weakened enamel that needs to be treated. Dental Xrays can show small cavities that can be treated easily to avoid big problems like a fracture later on. Your dentist can also give you the right advice on a good mouthguard if you are clenching and grinding.
Mind your posture while working/studying from home. Sitting improperly can create spinally and lower back stress. This physical stress that can facilitate improper jaw positioning. This leads to clenching and grinding.
Get adequate amounts of restful sleep. Working/studying from home really is convenient and well necessary while weathering a pandemic, but it is clear that this new way of life for most takes adjustment. Most of our patients are telling us they work at odd hours and way more hours than they usually do. This type of restlessness and insomnia can cut into much needed restorative sleep. Lack of sleep creates physical stress. And all that stress and tension goes right to your teeth.
Be aware. Self – awareness is key. Be on the lookout for signs of clenching and grinding – sore cheeks, frequent headaches or migraines, jaw soreness. Stop yourself from grinding or clenching when you catch yourself. It is usually a subconscious activity. You may not even realize that you are damaging your teeth, so if someone tells you to do it, YOU DO!. And if you absolutely do nothing else, inform your dentist of your habit and seek out a professional clenching and grinding guard. Save yourself the additional stress of a dental emergency and get ahead of it!