Unless you’ve been living in the remotest areas of the world for the past year, you’ve been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in some way. Even if you haven’t become infected directly, you probably have still been impacted financially or emotionally.
But there’s another way that the coronavirus has impacted people’s lives: harm to their dental health. Since March of 2020, the number of dental emergencies has dramatically increased around the country. In this post, you’ll learn more about what kinds of problems have risen and what role COVID-19 has played.
What Is a Dental Emergency?
A dental emergency occurs when you need urgent dental care. The following are dental emergencies that have been on the rise since the beginning of the pandemic:
- Chipped or cracked teeth.
- Lost or broken fillings/crowns.
- Jaw pain.
Why Have Dental Emergencies Increased?
Although the COVID-19 virus itself has not caused more dental emergencies, the pandemic and its stresses have directly contributed. Here are two reasons that patients have suffered dental emergencies in the past year.
Avoiding the Dentist
In an effort to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic, many people have chosen to cut out all “non-essential” appointments or activities. However, the problem is that some view visiting the dentist as one of these. Certainly, teeth whitening or other cosmetic procedures shouldn’t be considered absolutely necessary, but what about routine dental care?
Without regular teeth cleanings and checkups, plaque is allowed to build up and cause tooth decay. At that point, unless a trained professional intervenes, this decay eventually penetrates deep into the tooth, leading to painful cavities.
Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth
When under stress, your body reacts sometimes in ways you may not realize or control. For instance, some people clench or grind their teeth, especially while they sleep. Although this unconscious habit can exist even during low-anxiety times, stress can exacerbate this problem or start it in individuals who didn’t before.
Teeth clenching or grinding puts immense force on your teeth, and eventually this force causes damage. Examples of this includes cracks, chips, or lost or cracked fillings or crowns. In addition, this habit can cause consistent headaches, migraines, and a sore jaw (i.e., TMJ disorder).
Although the pandemic will undoubtedly have lasting effects on the economy and other areas of life, it doesn’t have to take away your smile. Make sure that you’re continuing to go to your dental appointments for essential preventive services and maintaining healthy oral habits at home. If you think you may be clenching or grinding your teeth, you can talk to your dentist about getting a mouthguard to protect your teeth from damage. By following these tips, you can avoid experiencing a dental emergency and keep smiling, no matter what!
About the Practice
Boyles General Dentistry has been serving Odessa individuals and families for more than 30 years. In fact, Dr. Franklin Boyles has achieved Mastership status with the Academy of General Dentistry and served as a president for the West Texas Academy of General Dentistry. With 5 years of dentistry experience, Dr. Stephen Boyles has already become a Master with the Academy of General Dentistry. They are proud to continue helping the community stay healthy and safe through the pandemic. You can contact Boyles General Dentistry through the website or by calling 432-366-0896.