Omaha dentists see increase in teeth grinding and cracked teeth following pandemic

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Stress rears its ugly head in some of the worst ways.

For some, it can literally “gnaw” them, due to the grinding of the teeth.

Dr. Chris Lippold, dentist at Omaha Family Dental of Elmwood, acknowledges a significant increase in the number of patients.

“It’s actually the most I’ve seen right now,” he said.

He notes that since the pandemic, patients have come to complain of discomfort in the jaw.

“You can see the wear on their flat teeth. The hygienist and the doctor can also tell by the receding of your gums,” Dr. Lippold explained.

He says teeth grinding isn’t new, but the rise isn’t a coincidence, adding to the stress of the pandemic, recent violence and economic strains have contributed to the problem.

Dr. Lippold acknowledges that although the link between pandemic-related stress and teeth grinding has yet to be officially published in dental journals, between conversations with other professional colleagues and the dramatic increase in the number patients with similar problems; it’s pretty clear.

“It’s gone from about two or three a week to two or three a day now and we’ve seen people breaking their teeth at the gum line recently,” he said.

And another sign of the times spurred by the pandemic is labor shortages; explaining their absence may have a more indirect impact on patients.

“As there is a shortage of staff, assistants, hygienists, receptionists, we can only book a certain number at a time.”

So whether you grind minimally or chew fairly hard, Dr. Lippold says if you have a concern, don’t postpone an appointment.

Dr. Lippold also shared ways to prevent damage from teeth grinding, before permanent dental work is done, listing an occlusal guard as a useful tool that can be worn throughout the day or while you sleep. .

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