Dentists report an uptick in stress-related issues

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Dentists across the country were dormant for months during the shutdown. Now that they’re back up and running, they’re busy. 

Many are hearing a common complaint from stressed out patients. 

Dr. Matt Welebir of Summerlin’s P3 Dental Group has seen an uptick in patients with a sore jaw — pain in cheeks and even migraines. 

”Forty-eight people are coming in with chief complaints of broken teeth and a lot of jaw pain, TMJ and things like that,” said Dr. Matt Welebir.

It’s no secret that pandemic-related anxiety is affecting our mental health, but could it be affecting our oral health too?  

Daytime stress can lead to nighttime clenching and grinding.

“If you have a large filing or a crown that’s been in there for awhile, it’s like hitting a rock with a hammer lightly,” Dr. Welebir said. “Eventually that rock is going to break. That’s what happens to your teeth as well.” 

In more than two decades of dental practice, Dr. Welebir has never seen a trend like this. Since grinding -— or bruxting — is a nocturnal habit, there is not much we can do to stop it. But it is very treatable with a traditional night guard or other appliance. 

“Something that’s more FDA approved for migraine sufferers — this is called an NTI appliance. It fits in lower or upper front six has this ramp acts like an ice skating rink that just gets you open,” Dr. Welebir said.

Besides appliances, Dr. Welebir also recommends what he calls a stress reduction protocol. He recommends yoga and meditation to lower the stress on your body and the pressure on your teeth.

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