The last 6 months of our lives have been stressful for most of us due to Covid-19. As a result, we are seeing an uptick of people seeking help from mental health professionals and other health practitioners to get them through this tough time. Taking care of yourself is now more important than ever.
In my own practice, I have seen an increase in patients who are suffering from tooth pain and sensitivity as a result of increased clenching and grinding. The majority of my patients having these issues are not even aware this is happening.
It really shouldn’t be much of a surprise.
So many of the causes for grinding and clenching have been exacerbated during the pandemic. Insomnia, anxiety, and stress are key contributors.
Insomnia: In late August it was reported in Physicians Weekly ( link to article https://www.physiciansweekly.com/sleep-many-people-losing-sleep-over-covid-19-pandemic-drives-sleepless-nights/) that “the impact of the disease on a good night’s sleep bothers both those who have to battle the contagion and those who are worried sick by it. Insomnia then leads to reduced daily functioning which can cause teeth grinding.
Stress and Anxiety: A person’s sympathetic nervous system becomes active when it experienced stress. This is our “fight or flight” response and causes people to involuntarily grind their teeth in their sleep.
Relaxation techniques can reduce stress but it’s often not enough to save your teeth from the damage of clenching and grinding.
If you have a night guard or retainer it’s all right to use it in the daytime as well. Regardless of the time of day, these appliances absorb and disperse the pressure you’re placing on your teeth.
If you don’t have a custom-fit guard, we can make one for you.
If you don’t already have an appointment scheduled in our office and you are experiencing teeth sensitivity or jaw pain, please call us at 440.354.0705 or make an appointment online. We will be able to evaluate your condition and recommend the proper course of action to help.
Patrick Soria, DDS