Since reopening their doors, dentists have started to see a rise in cracked teeth. This is being put down to the stress caused by COVID. It is one of several physical ailments thought to be caused by the stress of the pandemic.
Here, we’ll look at the rise in cracked teeth and how patients can prevent this potentially costly side effect.
Understanding the rise in cracked teeth
In America, some dentists are seeing anything from 2 to 5 cases of fractured teeth each day. Prior to the pandemic, it would have been one case, sometimes every other day. So, there has been a clear rise in cases during COVID, but why?
The coronavirus doesn’t cause the teeth to become more fragile. However, it does cause a lot more anxiety. A side effect of anxiety is teeth grinding, or bruxism. Patients don’t always know when they are suffering with bruxism as it often presents itself overnight. If you wake up and your teeth or jaw feels sore, it is a good indicator you are grinding or gnashing your teeth during the night.
What is teeth grinding?
Teeth grinding occurs when the jaws clench together. It is usually caused by stress and anxiety and occurs more during the night. However, it can also be caused by health issues or lifestyle factors. The condition is said to affect around six million people in the UK and it can result in the following symptoms:
- Facial pain
- Sleep disorders
- Stiffness of the neck and shoulders
As many patients are finding out, teeth grinding can also seriously damage the teeth. Over time, the condition causes the teeth to weaken. This can result in chipped teeth, as well as wear down the enamel causing sensitivity.
Can you prevent it?
As anxiety tends to cause most cases of teeth grinding, managing it could be key to prevention. Patients are advised to focus on reducing their anxiety levels through activities such as meditation, yoga and massage.
While it isn’t easy to relax during a pandemic, doing so could be essential for your teeth. Focus on taking time out each day to relax. If this doesn’t resolve the problem, it’s time to visit your dentist to determine the cause.
If you have only just started grinding your teeth, you could also prevent a crack by wearing a mouth guard at night. Your dentist will be able to prescribe one of these for you.
Treating cracked teeth
If the teeth do become cracked due to teeth grinding, treatment will be needed. The treatment method provided will depend upon the severity of the crack. If it hasn’t reached the inner core of the teeth (known as the pulp), a root canal can typically treat it. However, if it has gone all the way through the tooth, it may need to be removed.
The rise in cracked teeth due to the stress of COVID is concerning for dentists. The above is just a brief overview of the symptoms to watch out for and the potential ways to prevent the teeth from cracking.