The last year and a half of our lives have been stressful for most of us due to one aspect or another from Covid-19. 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. Most of the patients having these issues aren’t even aware it’s happening.
Insomnia, anxiety, and stress are key contributors.
So many of the causes for grinding and clenching have been exacerbated during the pandemic.
Insomnia: In late August 2020 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 experiences stress. This is our “fight or flight” response and can cause 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 you can use it in the daytime as well as at night. Regardless of the time of day, these appliances absorb and disperse the pressure you’re placing on your teeth.
You may need a custom-fit guard.
If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity or jaw pain, please call us at 828-631-3283 or request an appointment online. We will be able to evaluate your condition and recommend the proper course of action to help.
David S. McGuire, DDS