WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – 2020 was a year that affected people in many ways.

For some the pandemic grinded them down not only mentally, but also their teeth.

“The stresses associated with it like financial stresses, the sickness stress, the isolation stress, you name it. I mean, there’s a lot a lot of stress going on with this whole situation. We’re doing a lot of TMJ therapy,” said Chris Polk , Cambridge Family Dentistry Owner.

Polk said their practice has noticed an uptick in people coming in due to grinding and clenching their teeth.

“A lot of times, it’s very painful. It hurts on opening and it causes some popping and clicking. Patients a lot of times notice that when they’re sleeping or when they wake up in the middle of the night with a sore. You know and they can cause headaches, migraines, there’s a lot of symptoms associated with it,” Polk said.

Back in March, Cambridge Family Dentistry closed down.

Polk said since re-opening they are seeing people continue to push off routine check-ups causing some to find themselves with serious issues, “The more prevalent thing is the decay from the lack of exams and cleanings and things like that, that’s the bigger issue.”

“Plus, people that are wearing masks tend to breathe more through their mouth. They pull more air through their mouth and that dries the mouth out, that tends to make more areas of decay in the mouth,” Polk said.

With PPE for staff and vigorous cleaning protocols in place, Polk hopes people will return to the dentist before problems get worse.

“The whole body is affected by your mouth. I mean, it’s the first, there’s so many things that systemic diseases that are linked to your mouth and so it’s very important to treat that and take care of those those issues,” he said.