We’ve been seeing patients lately with stress-fractures or chipping of their teeth a lot these days. And the main reason seems to be associated with clenching/grinding as a result of all the stress of the shut-downs or the anxiety of catching COVID itself. There is no doubt that this past year has been difficult to deal with for a lot of us, from psychological impacts from depression or financial troubles to physiological manifestations for many, either from contracting the disease or being anxious over it. Anxiety is a very good culprit for intense clenching or grinding of one’s teeth. And “bruxism” (clenching or grinding) can cause gum recession, wear on the roots, sensitivity to temperature, chipping or fracture of the teeth, muscle and facial fatigue, headaches, joint pain and so much more.
Even if one’s bruxism is not because of stress, and maybe from sleep apnea for weight gain (which many of us have had during the shut-downs), the effect in the mouth and teeth is typically very much the same, in addition to snoring possibly.
Being aware of bruxism is something that not all of us making a point of. Many of us are in denial about it and want it to not be recognized. But the first step in addressing an issue is its recognition, before we can get to resolving it or its manifestations.
Make the time for you and see your dentist if you have any of these issues surfacing in your mouth within the past year. Sometimes the solution could be as easy as wearing a guard. Sometimes it needs more than that but first things first: take the first step and go see a dentist!