Dentists are seeing a variety of oral health problems due to avoiding care during the COVID-19 pandemic. But what is most alarming is that many are experiencing cracked teeth. This can often be due to the added stress felt during the ongoing pandemic.
With the pandemic, we have experienced isolation, stress and uncertainty, which has taken a toll on not only our well-being but our patients’ teeth as well. In a USA Today article, dentists reported a huge spike in cracked teeth that are only the beginning of more problems.
Here is why people are suffering from dental complications, such as cracked teeth, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
People are putting off dental appointments
That’s right. As many of you already know, our patients are putting off going to the dentist for a variety of reasons. Yes, in the beginning with the stay-at-home orders, elective procedures were put on hold and we had to remain closed. However, since we have been allowed to resume care for our patients, we are noticing many are suffering from further complications we could have prevented.
While the stay-at-home orders might be the main reason patients were not receiving care, they still are hesitant to come in. This is where we as dentists need to reassure our patients that it is safe to come in for routine care. It is even more vital that they come in if they are experiencing further complications.
Stress is causing teeth grinding
We’re all under added stress, which takes a toll on our overall health and well-being, but it can be impacting our patients’ oral health as well. Whether they realize it or not, the added stress from the pandemic can cause teeth grinding.
We’ve heard the term, “coronasomnia,” being shared lately, which is caused by the stress of the pandemic. However, that can also lead to sleep bruxism as well. The main culprit behind teeth grinding is stress and anxiety, but it often occurs during sleep, which means many people might not even realize the damage until it is severe.
Bruxism is most likely caused by an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth, but the unusual amount of stress and anxiety we are all feeling from the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on all aspects of our lives and health. We also know that sleep bruxism can be caused by sleep apnea, which just adds to the importance of our patients getting the care they need to get through this pandemic.
Take charge and reach out to your patients about this important oral health and well-being information. By letting them know it is safe to come to our offices, we can better care for patients who might be suffering from sleep bruxism or sleep apnea during the pandemic and beyond.