A recent poll among American Dental Association members, as reported in AARP magazine, shows a 53-59% increase in teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism), chipped or cracked teeth and pain around the jaw and surrounding muscles (known as TMD or TMJ).
There have even been anecdotal reports of teeth seemingly inexplicably falling out. While a direct scientific link to the pandemic has not been ruled out, more data is needed before we draw any conclusions. It is yet to be established if this tooth loss could be related to inflammation from the virus. Most doctors believe the teeth damage may be more directly related to the stress we’re all under as we continue to battle COVID-19 and, more recently, are trying get registered and make appointments for the vaccine.
Oral health is too closely connected to our overall wellness to be ignored. If you are experiencing more anxiety than normal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers tips for reducing stress during these difficult times. Some of these tips may seem intuitive —exercising regularly, eating well-balanced meals, getting plenty of sleep and avoiding alcohol and tobacco.
Fighting the Effects of Stress on Our Teeth
Much of the damaging clenching and grinding takes place at night in our sleep. To protect any dental implant investment and also help prevent the damaging effects from bruxism on our natural teeth, the doctors of the South Florida Center for Periodontics & Implant Dentistry create custom-made night guards. Also known as occlusal guards, these comfortable appliances work by providing a precisely designed and adjusted barrier between your upper and lower teeth, lightening the tension and providing a cushioning effect as you sleep. While you can purchase “one-size-fits-all” or “boil and bite” guards over the counter, the ones created by us, or your regular dentist, fit best as we make them with exact digital impressions.
The specialists at South Florida Center for Periodontics & Implant Dentistry are experts in implant dentistry, gum disease and cosmetic periodontal surgery. If you suspect you have issues with night grinding and clenching, please contact our office for an appointment. We can help!