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Preventing Common Dental Issues While Working From Home



Let’s face it- Dealing with a Dental Emergency is probably one of the worst things to have right about now (or in any situation). Living with and navigating around the effects of COVID-19 has brought about inconveniences and much anxiety. Lifestyle changes can lead to problems for your teeth. Fortunately, with early care and prevention measures, it is possible to prevent these issues from affecting your teeth.

Bruxism (Teeth Grinding) and Cracked Teeth.

We are all too familiar with how the effects of stress can manifest physically. This season of work-related stress is compounded by more frequent meetings and an increased workload from Working From Home. Parents who have to manage their children’s home-based learning (HBL) and their daily running of the household are constantly exhausted and more highly strung. We live in stressful times, and it can take a significant toll on our health. Stress and anxiety often contribute to teeth-grinding and jaw-clenching habits (also known as nocturnal bruxism). It does not always cause symptoms, but some people get facial pain and headaches, which can wear down their teeth over time. Most people who grind their teeth and clench their jaw are unaware they’re doing it, as the bruxism forces are highest when sleeping at night. Para-functional habits such as nocturnal bruxism can exert significant power on the teeth. Teeth attrition (wear as a result of grinding) can range from mild to severe wear, giving rise to other dentofacial complications.


Clenching and grinding can cause teeth to crack. While most teeth that present with craze lines do not progress into a cracked tooth, a crack in the tooth could well go into a split tooth, thereby rendering the tooth unrestorable. If detected and managed expediently, a cracked tooth in its early stages can prolong its lifespan. However, if the crack is left alone to progress deeper into the tooth’s root surfaces, the tooth can no longer be treated effectively and has to be removed and replaced. Financial costs aside, the trauma of going through more complex treatment could have been avoided if regular follow-ups and preventive medicine were prescribed early.


One of the treatments we prescribe to our patients with bruxism is using a bruxism splint or mouthguard. Depending on the practitioner’s mode of treatment, a bruxism splint could be rigid or dual-hardness. These splints are custom fit to your teeth to provide bracing and equilibrate the bite forces exerted during the wear. Dentists routinely prescribe them as a maintenance appliance to protect existing restorations from wear and breakage.


If you are diagnosed with bruxism, it would be wise to have a mouthguard prescribed and fabricated to prevent wear from progressing. In some cases where severe attrition or cracks have already formed, your dentist may advise for a crown to be done to adequately brace and protect the existing tooth structure from crack progression. This is usually done when extensive fillings do not sufficiently provide bracing for the natural tooth structure.


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