Pandemic Stress causes tooth fractures and jaw soreness
It’s great to see the Kids magazine back in action. So much has happened since the last edition. From the covid-19 to the hailstorm to the murder hornets, 2020 kept us guessing what would happen next. I have certainly seen more patients starting orthodontic treatment during the last few months. And you know what? Now more than ever, is the best time to get treatment. Do you know why? It’s because you can hide the orthodontic hardware on your teeth under a mask of course! Or maybe its because kids and adults are noticing their teeth on all the zoom meetings and are now ready to do something about their crooked teeth. These two reasons alone have driven many patients to start their orthodontic treatment now. Read on for a few more reasons to see how orthodontic treatment can help you through the pandemic.
Stress has increased dental problems for several patients during the pandemic. Grinding and clenching habits often result from stress. The repeated forces from grinding and clenching can lead to fractures of teeth, wearing down of teeth and painful tension in the jaw. Patients with deep bites (where your upper teeth overlap 50% or more of your lower teeth when your teeth are closed together) are going to have more of their front teeth collide together leading to wearing/fractures of the front teeth. Patients with openbites (where you close your teeth all the way down but only bite on the back teeth) are prone to fracturing and wearing down the back teeth. An orthodontist can help these two types of bites so that the forces are evenly distributed throughout all the teeth so that no one tooth or groups of teeth bear the brunt of the force. Bonus if you are a candidate for Invisalign as the clear trays cover the chewing surfaces of your teeth so you can’t wear your teeth down while wearing them.
Grinding and clenching can also significantly increases the tension in our patients’ jaws. The repeated contraction and tension of your chewing muscles can cause headaches as well as pain in the jaws, which tends to be most noticeable in the morning. When the jaw muscles are overworked, pain is the result. An evaluation by your dentist, orthodontist or oral surgeon can identify if the overworked muscles are the cause of your jaw pain. If so, there are many remedies that can help including nightguards and physical therapy. Kids and adults alike can suffer from jaw pain and there is help available. It’s a new year, a better year and one where you can be on your way to smiling pain free.