For millions of people recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, one question that might be on their mind is – what are the long-term side effects? Although we don’t have all the data yet, one common symptom occurring for recovered patients is jaw pain. Although jaw pain or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD) is not a direct symptom of the COVID-19 virus, it is a symptom of the pandemic and an unfortunate side effect following the recovery.
For some patients who have recovered from COVID-19, jaw pain or joint pain in their jaw may result from excessive mouth breathing due to having a more challenging time breathing. With the mouth open more and longer, it forces the individual to use muscles in their neck to help them breathe. This action causes the neck muscles to pull on the jaw, which becomes strained and can cause jaw and neck pain.
Stress is another factor that causes jaw pain, whether it is pre-COVID or post-COVID. However, with all the uncertainty due to COVID, it has caused individuals to reach higher levels of stress, and anxiety. For some, stress causes individuals to clench their teeth while they sleep. The clenching motion places a significant amount of pressure on the TMJ joint resulting in pain in the jaws. Here are some other symptoms of teeth clenching when the jaw joint is overworked or agitated.
Stress not only causes people to clench while they sleep, but it can also cause people to grind their teeth. According to the American Dental Association, since the start of the COVID pandemic, dentists have seen almost a 60% rise in patients complaining of bruxism or nighttime teeth grinding. In addition, they have noted TMJ symptoms among more than half of their patients. But how do you know if you are grinding your teeth in your sleep? Here are some signs of teeth grinding:
To minimize jaw clenching and grinding your teeth, reduce your stress level by following some of these tips.
If you are experiencing any jaw pain, whether or not you have had COVID, our dentist in Fairview is here to help. During your exam, your dentist will begin by evaluating your jaw joints and asking about your symptoms to see what kind of treatment is recommended. If the culprit of jaw pain is due to bruxism, your dentist will generally recommend using a night guard. By using a night guard, it will help protect your teeth and alleviate the strain on the TMJ while you sleep.
If you have any questions about your dental health, bruxism, TMJ disorder, or oral appliance therapy, please call our office at 972-468-1440 today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Feng. Our dental office is located in Fairview, Texas, and our patients visit us from across the surrounding areas, including Allen, Plano, McKinney, and Lucas.