Is Covid a Cause of Clenching and Grinding Teeth (Needing a Nightguard?)
Posted by Dental Didactics CE: Dental Board of California Registered CE Provider #RP3768, Academy of General Dentistry National PACE Provider #217643 on Oct 7th 2022
Is Covid Causing Tooth Clenching and Grinding?
Many dentists are noticing a seeming increase in bruxism (tooth clenching and grinding) in their patients. This might be attributed to general societal stress levels as many patients report increasing bruxism due to greater reports of stress-inducing events in the news. Until now these reports were only anecdotal, but current studies in the Journal of Endodontics reveal a significant increase in fractured teeth over the past two years, statistically aligned with the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown. The pandemic caused great societal upheaval, economic declines, and loss of normal interpersonal interactions. This would logically translate into increased levels of personal stress and subsequent bruxism leading to tooth fractures. The Journal of Endodontics study confirms this by statistical analysis of the rate of tooth fractures in root canal specialty practices and indicates that preventive measures should be taken to avoid tooth fractures and loss of dentition.
Dental Nightguards as a Preventive Measure
Besides clinical efforts to reduce personal stress, a first line treatment for reduction of tooth fractures is the fabrication of a dental nightguard which will reduce the stress on individual teeth and prevent root fractures. Custom impressions are taken of the dental arches and a thin horseshoe-shaped flexible guard is fabricated to wear over the teeth to ease pressure and prevent enamel wear and fracture. This is a conservative and noninvasive procedure that reaps great preventive benefits and helps patients avoid potential crowns, root canals, extractions, and implants.
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