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Current Patients (843) 571-7951

811 St. Andrews Blvd, Ste B Charleston, SC 29407

COVID-19: Is Stress Affecting Your Oral Health?

The changes to our normal routines as a result of the coronavirus outbreak can be stressful and lead to dental concerns such as tooth pain, tooth damage, and jaw tension. If you have been told that you grind your teeth or clench your jaw, stressful situations like the current health crisis we are enduring can exacerbate the problem.

The dentists of West Ashley Family Dentistry are offering advice on identifying and mitigating the effects of stress on oral health. Our office welcomes patients who are experiencing new symptoms and would like to address them before more permanent damage occurs.

Signs of Teeth Grinding

There is a range of signs and symptoms that can indicate teeth grinding or bruxism. Some of the most common can include:

  • a popping or clicking sensation in the jaw joints
  • increased tension in jaw muscles
  • tooth pain
  • ear pain
  • recurring headaches
  • neck or shoulder pain or tightness

Many of these symptoms may appear in the morning if you have been grinding your teeth in your sleep, which is common. However, with the added stress of the coronavirus pandemic, teeth grinding can begin to occur throughout the day. You may begin to notice that your jaw feels stiff or tight, a sign that you are clenching these muscles in response to the added stress in your daily life.

Reducing Stress, Protecting Your Oral Health

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a developing dental problem related to bruxism, we can recommend some at-home strategies for reducing stress and minimizing any impact on the health of your teeth and gums.

  • practice relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga
  • gently massage the outer part of the jaw joints to relax tense muscles
  • place a warm, moist cloth on the outside of the cheeks
  • change your sleeping position
  • over the counter pain medicines can reduce inflammation if you are experiencing pain or discomfort

When should I call the dentist?

Ideally, any of the above-mentioned symptoms should be addressed by Dr. Dickert or Dr. Lynn to avoid ongoing tooth damage or other more complex problems. We recommend that you schedule a visit with us as soon as possible so that conservative treatment methods can be used effectively.

We understand that these are unique times and are here to help in the best way possible. Feel free to contact our office if you have concerns about your dental health. We will provide the most prudent solution available given the circumstances and can also see you safely in our Charleston dentist office to address an emergency situation.

It is important to keep in mind the role that your oral health plays in your overall physical health and wellness. We look forward to the “return to normal” and hope that all of our patients are following recommendations and guidelines for staying well during the coronavirus outbreak.