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Dentists seeing more chipped teeth amid the pandemic

It's a product of anxiety brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, according to one local dentist.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — A phenomenon is happening in the field of dentistry right now, and it’s the product of anxiety brought on by the pandemic and an all-around tough year.

“We’re seeing the clinical manifestation of that in our offices,” said Dr. Daniel Vacendak of Vacendak Dentistry in Chesapeake.

Vacendak has seen a significant increase in cases involving chipped teeth and "bruxism," or excessive grinding.

The American Dental Association conducted a recent study confirming cases are up nationwide.

Vacendak says the case counts are double what they normally are at his practice, and it doesn’t stop at broken and ground-down teeth.

“We noticed people who had been stable periodontally for a long time come back with a significant amount of inflammation and an increase in that disease process we hadn’t seen before.”

Not surprisingly, this inflammation of the tissue holding your teeth in place can also be caused by anxiety.

If there is a silver lining, despite the pandemic’s effect on our oral health, fewer than one percent of dentists nationwide were found to be COVID-19 positive. It’s an unexpected, but welcome, finding from the Journal of the American Dental Association after many assumed the field would be at higher risk following a reopening of the industry last year.

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