Santa Monica dentist says she’s seeing more cracked teeth during pandemic

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Dr. Ellie Farahmand practices dentistry in Santa Monica, and she’s been seeing one or two cracked teeth a day since the pandemic began in March. Photo courtesy of Dr. Ellie Farahmand

Some dentists are noticing a rise in cracked teeth during the COVID-19 pandemic. This can happen when people grind and clench their teeth throughout the night.

Ellie Farahmand, a dentist in Santa Monica, says that before the pandemic, she would see one or two cracked teeth in a week. “It was always due to teeth that had large fillings placed in them. Patients that had a habit of clenching or grinding their teeth, their teeth would be weakened, and we’d see a cusp fracture here and there.”

She recalls in July, “I started to think one day, my gosh, I’m seeing at least one or two cracked teeth a day. And it was almost like a lightbulb went off in my head. I said wow, this has to be something due to the fact that people are very stressed right now. I started to take notice of it. And sure enough, it hasn’t eased up, unfortunately.”

She says most people don’t realize they’re clenching or grinding their teeth at night, and when they do notice, they’re probably doing that during daytime too.

Farahmand says one solution is to wear a night guard — but obviously only at night and not during daylight hours. “It’s not the most comfortable thing to wear. … You’re going to sound funny if you’re wearing it and you have to speak.”

During the day, she recommends putting sticky notes on a computer screen, desk, or microwave to remind you to take notice of your mouth and make sure you’re relaxed.

At night, she says to go to bed as relaxed as possible. That might mean meditating, doing yoga, stretching, taking deep breaths, or listening to music before going to bed.