The stress of 2020 has been brutal, and it looks as though it will probably continue into 2021. Stress takes its toll on people in many different ways. Cases of mental illness have skyrocketed this year due to restrictions, lockdowns, and the loneliness that millions of people have suffered through. People have suffered in other areas as well from stress.
Dentists across the United States have seen the negative impact of restricted dental appointments. Patients who do not receive regular dental care are much more likely to have oral health concerns. With new issues such as “Mask Mouth” developing with the COVID-19 pandemic, dental offices are treating more patients than ever for newly developed issues. Many dentists have reported a significant increase in patients coming into their offices who are presenting with signs of teeth grinding. Bruxism, the technical term for teeth grinding, is a serious dental condition that can compromise the health and integrity of the teeth. While the teeth are surrounded by enamel, the hardest substance in the human body, the enamel is not invincible.
Teeth grinding puts enormous pressure on the teeth, gums, and jawline. When a person grinds the teeth, the teeth are susceptible to wearing down and exposing the inner layers of the teeth where the roots, nerve endings, and blood vessels are located. Most people grind their teeth at night and are not aware that they do it. It is not until certain symptoms occur or a dentist brings it to their attention that they realize that teeth grinding is a concern.
The body is an amazingly intricate machine designed to deal with stress, but only to a point. If people are not proactive at releasing stress, their bodies will find a way to release it. According to the Bruxism Association, stress levels are the strongest predictor of bruxism, associated with 70% of cases. If your teeth are showing signs of wearing down, you are waking with morning headaches multiple times a week, or are experiencing jaw pain or tenderness, please do not ignore these signs of bruxism.
At Ora Dentistry, we are here to provide comprehensive dental care to our patients. Don’t let stress ruin your smile. Contact us today.