The pandemic has been hard on all of us in countless ways and that includes our teeth.
Are you ready to find out how you can fight back? Let’s dive right in.
How has Covid-19 stress made the situation worse?
Teeth grinding and jaw clenching when consistent can be detrimental to our teeth which were designed to withstand standard chewing strain but not repeated grinding. Repeated grinding of teeth can lead to cracks, chips, fractures, or overall loosened and weak teeth. The grinding of teeth is harmful to your joints and muscles. Nirmala Raniga a Vancouver addictions and mental health counselor found that the pandemic has created new forms of stress, all of which can impact your mouth. It has been found that teeth grinding, clenching, and sleep talking at night are your body’s attempts at addressing the emotional stressors it faces. Nirmala Raniga has stated “Stress causes problems in your mouth where at night you can be clenching, grinding and that causes headaches, migraines,” she said. “It causes fractures in your teeth and fillings.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a rise in cannabis use, interrupted good eating habits, isolation leading to frequent snacking, infrequent dental visits, which has impacted flossing and brushing routines along with other poor oral health habits. The American Dental Association of over 163,000 dentists reported that 70% of them have seen an increase in patients with teeth clenching/grinding issues in the last year.
Why is teeth grinding a major problem?
There is a strong connection between the ongoing pandemic and the growing cases of patients that have had broken, cracked, or damaged teeth in the last 2 years. Dentists are noticing that the uncertainty of the pandemic has caused an increase in patients’ jaw clenching habits which can be a result of stress. This can lead to extreme grinding pressure being placed on patients’ teeth while sleeping. The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) shared that the increase in teeth grinding issues during the pandemic is a result of delaying oral health care and limiting the number of patients that can be seen in dental clinics. Additionally, McGill University also published findings that showed that good oral health reduced the risk of death from Covid-19, as patients with gum disease and Covid-19 were 3.5 times more likely to end up in the ICU and 9 times more likely to die compared to those without gum disease.
The chronic condition of teeth grinding commonly leads to tooth fractures, teeth wearing down, and the loss of teeth. If this happens many patients will require a combination of restorative and cosmetic procedures that could include dentures, dental veneers, bridges, crowns, root canals, Inlays/Onlays, or Invisalign in London Ontario to help straighten teeth and prevent teeth from being worn down. Teeth grinding can also worsen temporomandibular disorders (TMJ/TMD) that can even result in a change of your face’s appearance due to the impact it has on your jaw. At this stage, you’ll greatly benefit from Sbenati Dentistry’s digital smile design services to address this issue.
How do I know if I grind my teeth (signs and symptoms)?
You might be wondering if teeth grinding occurs while I’m asleep, how do I know if I do It? Often some couples will be able to hear their partner grinding their teeth at night but you can also talk to your dentist. A dental examination will reveal jaw tenderness and excessive unnatural wear to your teeth. Bruce Ward a dentist from Vancouver identified some warning signs of teeth grinding as an aching jaw in the morning, sore teeth (weakened teeth), and having a headache. He recently shared with other members of the British Columbia Dental Association that have all been seeing more damaged teeth as a result of teeth grinding, that he recently pulled two teeth that were split up the middle of the teeth. Teeth grinding can also be caused by an abnormal bite, crooked or misshapen teeth, and sleep apnea.
How can I address teeth grinding before It is too late?
The CDA recommends dental consultations for bruxism (teeth grinding), to learn relaxation techniques, and to have a customized mouthguard made so no further harm is done to your teeth and jaw while you sleep. Some of the CDA suggestions to reduce stress include being physically active, yoga, massage therapy, listening to music, taking a bath, deep breathing exercises, and having a nutritious diet while limiting coffee and alcohol.
What type of Mouthguard do I need?
Bruxism nightguards are an outstanding solution for a common health condition that affects 10% of adults and can impact children as well. These nightguards are convenient, comfortable devices that are made with special thermoplastics created from a mold of your teeth to support your teeth and jaw while you sleep. We strongly warn against using any kind of manufacturer drug store variety nightguard as they may not fit in your mouth properly and can cause even more damage to your jaw and teeth.
Additionally, if you play sports you may want to consider a sports mouthguard like Stephen Curry famously uses. These are very effective in preventing tooth damage in case you catch a stick, ball, or elbow to your mouth.
Conclusion (What is the best way to manage Bruxism)?
Although stress management is vital to managing bruxism, It is an issue that often requires corrective action, and bruxism nightguards in London Ontario are the best solution to prevent oral health problems from becoming worse in the years to come. The nightguards are also covered by most dental benefits, if you are not sure if you are covered for one we can help you figure that out as well.
If you’d like to determine whether or not you’re a teeth grinder or not, contact our dental clinic in London Ontario through our online Request An Appointment form, email us at Info@sbenatidentistry.ca, or give us a call at (519)-474-0220 we’d love to meet you.
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