Tooth Cracking Stress and associated dental problems are yet another price exacted from our society by the COVID-19 virus. As people begin to creep out from the shadow of the coronavirus, dentists all over the country are seeing a huge uptick in dentistry problems.
Apparently, the coronavirus crisis and the stress of isolation, tension, and crippled schedules have punished both children and adults in an unprecedented quantity of oral problems.
Dental Health and Mental Health: Side Effects of COVID-19
Even if the disease did not strike a family directly, many families still bore the scars of mental and dental side-effects. Just as recent studies proved the stress and isolation have hurt many people’s mental health, the tension has also hurt our dental health.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the painful number of cracked teeth dentists have had to treat. As our nation creeps back out of the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic into economic, physical, and mental health, we see many dental problems emerging.
USA TODAY reported that there is a huge spike in cracked teeth. This is just the start of the problem. Tammy Chen, D.D.S. wrote, “I’ve seen more tooth fractures in the last six weeks than in the previous six years…”
Seeing the Tooth Cracking Story Clearly
Many dentists have had a similar experience. Dr. Chen stated, “I closed my midtown Manhattan practice to all but dental emergencies in mid-March, 2020. This was in line with American Dental Association guidelines and state government mandate.
“Almost immediately, I noticed an uptick in phone calls: jaw pain, tooth sensitivity, achiness in the cheeks, migraines….”But when I reopened my practice in early June, the fractures started coming in: at least once a day, every single day that I’ve been in the office. On average, I’m seeing three to four; the bad days are six-plus fractures.”
Tooth Cracking Anxiety: Clearly On The Rise
The obvious answer is stress. Researchers have given it many names, thanks to the coronavirus: Covid-induced nightmares to “doom-surfing” to “corona-phobia,” it’s no secret that pandemic-related anxiety is affecting our collective mental health.
That kind of unremitting mental stress eventually leads to clenching and grinding, and ultimately tooth cracking, all of which can badly damage teeth.
- “It’s like a perfect storm,” Michael Dickerson is an independent practice owner with Aspen Dental in Tarpon Springs, Florida. He told USA TODAY, the patients he sees need “a ton of work.”
- In the New York metropolitan area, patients’ mouths are “much dirtier than they were before … Their gums are more inflamed,” Michael Fleischer told USA TODAY. Fleischer is a dentist and senior vice president of Clinical Affairs at Dental365.
- Then, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa comes another example from endodontist Derek T. Peek. He “treated twice as many broken teeth this August compared with last year, even though he’s treated fewer patients.”
The Rhythm of Life and Your Oral Hygiene
USA TODAY reports, we really cannot say the entire surge in general dental distress can be traced to this single reason. However, one thing seems to be certain. “…The first patients to go back to the dentist after widespread stay-at-home orders were likely the most in need.”
In general, the coronavirus restrictions and the shutdowns altered lives and daily schedules. There’s no doubt that changes in familial schedules, school, and work, cascaded into health problems.
American Dental Association spokesman, Dr. Matthew Messina told us, “Before shutdowns, lockdowns, and quarantines, your day had a rhythm to it…” He added, “When that rhythm is interrupted, it’s easy to forget simple little things like oral hygiene.” I
In other words, we put it this way:
A Pandemic Story: When Schedules Crash
When your whole world changes, your routine gets lost. Dentistry for Children presents a mythical but typical COVID-19 family story:
1. Dad commandeered the den to be his office, to work from home.
2. To make ends meet, Mom set up a mini-online work center in the corner of the kitchen.
3. The old formal dining room became a classroom where 9 yr. old Zoe and 11 yr. old Bryce go to Zoom School every weekday.
4. At age 3 ½, Zack wanders room to room bothering everyone. His primary goals in life have become stealing sugary treats from the kitchen and trying to stay up late so he can see more cartoons.
5. The whole family misses their weekend trips to see grandma and grandpa or go to the movies.
The Tooth Cracking Truth of Neglected Oral Hygiene
We know this was not everyone’s story or even every states’ story. But, many families suffered to some degree. As the world begins to normalize with vaccines and therapeutics, eventually, families are restoring their dental appointments.
Our fictional family has discovered the truth of cracked teeth and neglected gums:
- Zoe has nightmares about the virus and mysterious TMJ.
- Bryce began grinding his teeth because he could not play basketball or football. Soon, we will discover he has cracked two of his molars.
- Eventually, we’ll find out little Zack has four cavities in his tiny teeth and two of them are advanced enough for crowns.
- Dad has some fairly advanced gum disease, and mom’s bruxing has resulted in a fractured tooth and infected tooth.
Our Research has revealed that more and more dentists are discovering many more cases of teeth grinding due to stress. Likewise, brushing and flossing habits have been decreased.
You see, when social events are frozen, good health and hygiene habits often decline. Worst of all, people lost the regular routine of examination, x-rays, and cleaning. And some people still do not trust any medical institutions with their health and safety.
Even when people experienced pain, they put off going to the dentist. Interestingly enough, this was not always out of coronavirus fear. It was also a hope that the pain would just go away.
Unlike bruises and cuts or even broken bones, the tooth-truth is that teeth do not heal on their own. Dental problems just get worse with neglect.
We know that the tooth cracking, the fracture, and the resulting infection had to hurt Mom in the above story. Yet she kept hoping it would just go away.
Recently we learned that only one in five adults has visited a dentist’s office amid the worst of the pandemic months. However, two in five adults said “they’ve had dental issues since March of last year.
According to a survey released in August by Guardian Life, “one in four U.S. adults won’t be comfortable going to the dentist by the end of the year.”
We have taken every step possible to minimize the chances of spreading the coronavirus. We pride ourselves on maintaining a gold standard of prevention.
Terrific Tooth Cracking Take Away
Given all of these tooth-cracking, eye-popping, jaw-dropping revelations, we want to doubly reassure our patients and their families about the safety of our dental office at Dentistry for Children right here in Oviedo, Florida.
Even during the worst days of the pandemic, Dentistry for Children maintained an ultra-safe environment. Please, call to schedule your child’s dental check-up.