Dentists are seeing more cracked teeth. Pandemic stress is to blame

Stress is causing more cracked teeth during the pandemic, but there are ways to improve your mental health and save your teeth from breaks and surgeries.

(CNN)Shingles, maskne, migraines and quarantine fatigue: The stress of the pandemic has manifested in a variety of physical ailments. The latest evidence of this is a rise in cracked teeth.

"We have seen an increasing amount of fractured teeth in probably the past six months," said Dr. Paul Koshgerian, an oral surgeon with The Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Specialists of San Diego.
For Koshgerian's office, before the pandemic, treating one cracked tooth per day or every other day was normal. These days, two visits per day for fractured teeth have been the norm; on the worst days, he might see five cases.
    Derek Peek — leader of Eastern Iowa Endodontics and diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics — found that in August and September, his office had already treated twice as many cracked teeth in comparison to those respective months last year, even with fewer patients this year.
    Covid-19 doesn't make teeth more fragile, but the "anxiety that surrounds everything that's going on — Covid, the rioting, the protesting, the looting (and) the general state of the country — has gotten everybody's thermostat dialed up a couple notches," Koshgerian said.
    "In the oral surgery or dental realm, often that translates to people bruxing their teeth," he added, describing the condition in which people involuntarily gnash, grind or clench their teeth. Bruxing can damage fillings or crowns, or crack teeth.

    When to call your dentist

    Symptoms of bruxism include pain when teeth are together and/or brushed, swelling indicative of infection, lingering pain and/or cold or broken pieces of teeth, Peek said. If the sides of you