INDIANAPOLIS— Central Indiana dentists say they are seeing an increase in oral health issues due to stress from the pandemic.
Dr. Tracey Williams in Indianapolis tells WRTV she has seen about a 60% increase in things like broken and cracked teeth, clenching, grinding and other reports of jaw pain.
“People are more stressed out, so they are clenching and grinding their teeth more. It is just their body‘s natural way to try to relieve stress,” said Dr. Williams.
Tracy Mishkin is one of Dr. Williams’ patients. Mishkin said she didn’t realize how pandemic-related stress was impacting her until the dentist pointed it out. “Shortly after we went into lockdown, I had a regular appointment with my dentist and she thought I was grinding my teeth related to stress,” said Mishkin.
Mishkin was prescribed a night guard, or custom fitted tray, to help take some of the pressure off her teeth. She says so far, that has made a big difference.
Grinding and clenching can lead to a cracked tooth. That is one of the reasons why Dr. Williams says it is important for people to keep up with their regularly scheduled dental exams. “A lot of times there could be things going on in your mouth that are problems that you can't feel yet,” said Dr. Williams.
She says her office is taking extra steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so patients can feel safe coming in. “It’s hard for a dentist to socially distance, that’s for sure, but the industry has been on the forefront of infection control for many years and we have put in extra protocols to improve air quality,” said Dr. Williams.
In addition to a hospital-grade air filtration system, Dr. Williams said they use a hypochlorous acid cold fogger between patients to purify the air. They also use a germicidal ultraviolet light tower in exam rooms.