Have you noticed any jaw pain in the recent weeks and months? With COVID-19 stressors increasing, you may be grinding your teeth in your sleep! With the stress of the pandemic mixed with political uncertainty and overall general stress of the holiday season, we are seeing more and more patients with jaw pain and discomfort.
Why does this happen?
Stress is one of the main causes of teeth grinding. Chances are, you may not even be aware that you are grinding your teeth. It happens in your sleep, and over time it will cause more and more pain and trouble. COVID-19 has brought us more stress and anxiety than ever before. Parents are having to transition their children to in-home learning, businesses are left with no choice but to lay off their employees, and the health of our country is at a very high risk.
Our bodies respond to stress in unusual ways. One of these ways is teeth grinding, technically known as bruxism. While we are sleeping, we are unaware of the damage that is caused by our very own jaw. We wake up with a dull ache in our mouth, that will become increasingly more painful each day.
What does teeth grinding do?
Teeth grinding results in chipped and broken teeth, and extreme discomfort in the jaw. Over time, the tooth enamel will diminish and patients will be more prone to cavities. Patients are weary of visiting their dentist due to the virus and the restrictions put upon us. However, such jaw pain becomes so unbearable that a dental visit is essential. With the proper evaluation, a solution is possible for this painful habit.
How can we prevent teeth grinding?
Once you have been evaluated by a dental professional, it is important to take action. Unfortunately, teeth do not rebuild themselves if damaged. It can become extremely expensive to repair damaged teeth with crowns and implants.
One common solution is a night guard. These retainer-like devices keep the top jaw from touching the bottom jaw. This not only protects the teeth from grinding, it prevents the jaw from clenching and developing TMJ, temporomandibular joint disorder–a jaw disorder that causes jaw pain and headaches.
There are also do-it-yourself night guards that come in the mail! For those who are unable to afford a dentist visit or who are high-risk for COVID-19, this is a very good alternative. This kit allows you to make your own impressions, creating a custom guard for your teeth–saving you time and money. But make sure you schedule an appointment with us when time allows, so we can get you a custom-made appliance. Those work the best.
Try to de-stress
It is definitely easier said than done, but de-stressing is key to saving your teeth. Limit your TV-watching, stay off of social media, and give yourself a break! Massages can help too! We hold a lot of tension in our neck and shoulders. A massage can alleviate this tension.
In a time of such pain and loss, we must take care of our bodies. It is crucial that we listen to the warning signs our body sends out and take the proper action to keep ourselves healthy.