Dentists: Stress from COVID-19 leading to an uptick in teeth grinding

Posted at 6:09 PM, Jun 23, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The past few months have been stressful for many of us in WNY. For some, it's lead to trips to more trips to the dentist.

“People are coming with more tension type headaches, migraines, decreased opening. They’ll say ‘I used to be able to eat a turkey club sandwich, but now I can’t open as big," said Dr. Michelle Augello, DDS, owner of Nickel City Dentistry on Hertel Ave.

30-40% of her patients complain about these kinds of issues and she thinks it's all because of stress caused by COVID-19.

“It is a stressful climate in our world right now. They were clenching and grinding their teeth and they were breaking a lot of teeth,” said Dr. Augello.

And repairing that kind of damage could cost you anywhere from a $100 to thousands.

Facial pain specialists are seeing the same thing, teeth grinding and clenching leading to pain.

"Another thing we’re seeing a lot is posture related, because a lot of people are working from home, that can put a lot some strains on the neck. Shoulders and subsequently the jaw," said Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg, Orofacial Pain Specialist at Facial Pain and Apnea Appliance Therapy in Amherst.

But there are plenty of ways to manage the pressure:

  • Ask the people closest to you if you grind your teeth when you sleep
  • Relaxation
  • Meditation
  • Breathing exercises
  • Getting enough sleep at night
  • Mouth guards (dentists recommend you come in and get a mold)

Both doctors suggest you call your dentist if you're experiencing any pain or have any questions.