It’s no secret that 2020 has been a stressful year. People are feeling concerned about their health/family’s health, uncertainty for the future and economic insecurity. This stress can manifest itself not only mentally, but physically. To cope with the stress, you may over eating, under eating, or possibly neglecting your personal hygiene. These are all things you may be consciously doing/not doing, but did you know that stress can also unconsciously affect your health?
You may not even realize it, but your stress may cause you to grind or clench (bruxism) your teeth during the day, but the most significant damage can occur while you’re asleep. “”Recently, the American Dental Association (ADA) has given us statistics on a survey they recently did here in September,”…”They’ve seen throughout the country a 50 percent increase in symptoms related to stress [which] include cracked teeth, fractured teeth, and excessive clenching and grinding, otherwise known as bruxism”2
There are ways you can check to if you may be suffering from bruxism. You can try to be aware if grinding/clenching during the day, but also check for chips, flattened teeth or sharp edges due to night grinding. Bruxism can also present itself in the form of a headache, sore jaw and/or teeth. You can try to prevent this by managing your stress and/or wearing a nightly bite guard.
Unfortunately, excessive force especially over a length of time can cause fractures, cracks, broken teeth and even tooth loss in serious cases. If this happens, you will want to make an appointment with your dentist right away. Your dentist will assess if you need a root canal or if the too needs to be replaced. If you find yourself with a broken tooth you may need to remove and replace the tooth with a crown or dental implant.
It is important to see your dentist at the first sign of a problem. Do not allow fear of going to the dentist during this pandemic cause your oral health to decline. Rest assured that your dentist is doing everything he/she can to keep you safe. “Less than 1 percent of dentists in the country have gotten COVID-19, and that’s an average of the general population.”2 This shows that the dental community is taking every precaution to keep you safe.
If you are interested in dental implant surgery, please call 888.257.4025 to set up a consultation with Dr. Young. He has several office locations he works out of throughout Southeast Michigan.
1. 6 ways stress affects your teeth and how to avoid it during quarantine. Available online on 16 November 2020. Website: https://www.guardiandirect.com/resources/articles/6-ways-stress-affects-your-teeth-and-how-avoid-it-during-quarantine
2. Reilley, Sabrina. Western Mass News. “Dentists report uptick in cracked teeth due to increased stress” 12 November 2020. Available online on 16 November 2020. Website: https://www.westernmassnews.com/news/dentists-report-uptick-in-cracked-teeth-due-to-increased-stress/article_2f368cc6-249a-11eb-9b56-2b57ab268cd6.html