By: Judson T Connell, DMD
You may have seen recent articles reporting that dentists are seeing an increase in bruxism cases during COVID-19. Unfortunately, this is true and can be attributed to various factors. Before we look at what to do if you think you’re experiencing bruxism, let’s examine exactly what bruxism is and what the symptoms and causes are.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is the clinical term for teeth grinding and it a common side effect of stress. It often occurs at night and can have a serious effect on the alignment of teeth and can also wear down the protective enamel on the surfaces of teeth. Teeth grinding can also be a side effect of misaligned teeth. When you close your mouth and the teeth are not properly aligned, it can be very common to want to move them frequently and grind to try to reposition them. Over time, bruxism can lead to cracked or chipped teeth, and tooth decay. However, bruxism can not only be very damaging to your teeth, but it can also cause other issues like headaches, TMJ disorder, and lockjaw.
Bruxism Resulting from COVID-19 Stress
The past year has undoubtedly brought on an incredible amount of stress for many people. Health concerns and financial struggles have taken a toll on us both emotionally and physically. Since stress is one of the main causes of bruxism, it’s understandable why cases have been on the rise. Due to the increased stress, we’ve seen more patients coming into our clinics with cracked or chipped teeth, most commonly due to teeth grinding and clenching.
How to Treat Bruxism
If you think you’re grinding your teeth—whether due to COVID-induced stress or just in general, it’s important to see a dentist right away so they can evaluate your current situation. We will conduct a full exam to determine what is the cause and create a treatment plan to address the issues. If the only concern is night grinding, then a night guard could be fabricated to wear while sleeping to manage the situation. If the situation is more complex, then we will develop a custom treatment plan for your specific diagnosis.
Request an appointment to talk to Dr. Connell about any bruxism and teeth grinding concerns—we’re here to help you!