Omaha dentists see rise in teeth grinding, cracked teeth as result of pandemic

“It’s actually it’s the most I’ve ever seen right now.”
Stress can rear its ugly head in some of the worst ways.
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 5:46 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Stress rears its ugly head in some of the worst ways.

For some, it may be “gnawing” on them quite literally, because of teeth grinding.

Dr. Chris Lippold, a dentist with Omaha Family Dental of Elmwood acknowledges a major increase in patients.

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

He notes since the pandemic, patients come in complaining of jaw discomfort.

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

He says teeth grinding isn’t new, but the uptick isn’t coincidental, adding on top of pandemic-related stress, recent violence and economic strain have contributed to the problem.

Dr. Lippold does acknowledge that although the link between pandemic-related stress and grinding teeth hasn’t been formally published in dental journals yet, between conversations with other professional colleagues and the sheer increase in patient volume with similar issues; it’s pretty clear.

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

And another sign of times spurred by the pandemic is worker shortages; explaining the lack thereof can impact patients in a more indirect way.

‘Since there’s staffing shortages, assistants, hygienists, receptionists, we can only book so many at a time a time.”

So whether you’re grinding is minimal or you’re chomping down pretty hard, Dr. Lippold says if you have a concern, don’t put off an appointment.

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