There are a noticeable number of patients who question the need for a guard. I totally understand. Many are unaware of grinding or clenching during their sleep. However, as a dentist, I can easily see damage that is attributed to clenching and grinding. It is very clear. Much research supports what I have seen. Based on research, about 40-50% of the United States population has a clenching/bruxism habit. This is very common.
So, if this is quite common, how can you know if you have this clenching/bruxism habit. I offer some possibilities that may point towards a grinding/bruxism habit:
- soreness in the mornings at the sides of your face inside your cheeks
- headaches commonly occurring at the sides of your head or at the back of your head
- neck or upper back muscle pain
- extreme sensitivity to cold liquids through all your teeth
- you do well with brushing and flossing, however, every time you go to the dentist something is wrong
- one tooth or more has instantaneous sharp pain upon biting or chewing, and disappears very quickly when not applying pressure
- your dentist mentions seeing flat areas on your teeth, or worn areas on your teeth
- you commonly have fillings or teeth break or crowns come off
- you wake up to the sounds of your teeth rubbing together
Your dentist is the best indicator because he/she can visibly see the damage from clenching or grinding. However, some dentists may not be as clued into this as others. We are not all the same. All I can say is, for years I have noticed this, and I have seen the damage that has resulted. These guards can and do save patients much in the way of time and money. To me, these guards, for those who do indeed clench or grind, are every bit as important as brushing, flossing, and practicing good eating habits. These can be dental-life changing; I have seen it.
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