Several news outlets have reported that dentists are seeing a surge in cracked teeth among their patients. Articles from The New York Times, USA Today, The Independent, and WebMD reveal that COVID-19 is somewhat to blame for the surge in cracked teeth. The COVID-19 virus does not make the teeth weaker, but the problem appears to stem from these two causes.
- Due to the pandemic, many people have put off visiting their dentists. This delayed dental care has caused some people’s teeth to get in a much worse condition.
- The anxiety and stress from the pandemic has resulted in an increase in jaw clenching and teeth grinding.
Now, if you experience a cracked or chipped tooth, do you know what to do? Here are some tips.
- If there are any broken or knocked out pieces, gather them gently by picking up from the crown side. If possible, do not handle from the root side. Rinse with lukewarm water to remove all foreign debris. If possible, try to re-implant the tooth making sure that it is inserted with the correct side facing out, then head straight to the dentist. If the pain is too much to re-implant, then place the tooth in milk and head straight to your dentist. If milk is not available, you can transport the tooth inside your mouth next to your cheek with plenty of saliva (make sure you do not swallow your tooth!). The purpose of milk or saliva is to protect the root of your tooth. Your dentist may be able to save your tooth and restore your mouth. Make sure you go to the dentist as soon as possible as this is a dental emergency.
- If the tooth feels cracked but no pieces are knocked out, then call your dentist right away to make an appointment. Depending on the type of crack, you may experience anywhere from no pain to extreme pain. If the dentin or the pulp is exposed, or if you are experiencing extreme pain, then you should see your dentist immediately.