NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Many dentists across the country are reporting a disturbing side-effect from the pandemic, and it's been leading to more emergency procedures. 

“We’re getting a lot of calls from existing patients and new patients. They’re noticing their teeth are starting to hurt, part of the tooth is sheered off," said Dr. Ashish Patel of Nashville Dentistry. "It’s coming from all the stress manifested over the last couple months.”

Whether it's job insecurity, extra childcare duties or fear your loved ones will get sick, it's all visible inside your mouth. 

"People want to get back to their normal routine and unfortunately, the first place that your body sees it is in your teeth,” Dr. Patel said. 

Dr. Patel says the problem is, when you’re stressed or anxious, you tend to bite down.

“Naturally your teeth should only come together for about ten minutes throughout the day," he said. "But what’s happening, especially with people working at home, they’re fidgeting, biting on a pen, or they’re snacking constantly, they’re eating a lot more, they’re doing a lot of things they normally wouldn’t do.”

They’re also grinding their teeth at night, which is a major cause of damaged teeth.

“One of the best ways to help alleviate that is through getting a custom fit night guard," Dr. Patel said. "We’ve had patients wearing them throughout the day to relieve stress.”

Dr. Patel says if you’ve noticed cracked or chipped teeth, see your dentist immediately, before those problems get worse. You might be able to avoid severe dental surgery.

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