Tooth grinding at night


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Tooth grinding at night – need a night guard!

Has this ever happened to you?

The infamous “Busy Season” starts at work and all hell breaks loose! A seemingly endless barrage of e-mails, accompanied by uninterrupted phone ringing and way too many meeting invitations – some for the same time slot! And, as a bonus, the boss joins in on the fun: “Well, where’s that analysis at? Didn’t you guys finish up already? I really thought you should be able to get this tiny little thing done by now…?!” Such a crazy whirlwind of stuff can easily stress someone out to the point where it unfavorably affects their sleep – or even worse – to the point where they have nightmares about missed deadlines and botched presentations. No wonder then, that some folks start grinding their teeth at night.

Stress and grinding teeth

Usually, I had been the one complaining about stress at work and at school but last year, my girlfriend finally received a taste of it as well. A few weeks earlier, she had managed to secure a new job with better pay and superior professional advancement opportunities. At first, we were loving life. However, relatively quickly it became clear to us that this new job also came with higher expectations (and a more annoying boss). The number of E-mail exchanges and phone conversations after 6pm kept increasing and our private conversations and/or dinner plans were more than once interrupted by last-minute work requests. Being the great boyfriend that I am, I was always supportive by her side but after being woken up for the third night in a row by her loudly and forcefully grinding her teeth in her sleep, I just had to say something. “Say, are you really ok with the new job? Is the stress level bearable?” My girlfriend looked at me with a surprised expression on her face and asked: “Well, I believe it is. So far I’m dealing with things just fine – why do you ask?” “Oh is that so? Well then tell that to your teeth.” I responded half-jokingly. “Seriously now – lately you’ve been grinding your teeth at night and I’m sure that can’t be good for your jaw in the longer run.” Concerned, we sat down in front of her computer and researched the most common causes and repercussions of prolonged tooth grinding online. Apparently, I had been correct and continued tooth grinding can damage the dental enamel, cause tooth dislocations, and can even lead to the permanent destruction of tooth surface areas in particularly bad cases.  

Top dentist to the rescue – night guard needed

“Looks like a mouth guard – or night guard – is a good idea for you.” I said while getting ready to look for a good dentist on the internet. A so-called night night guard is an occlusal splint made out of plastic that is fitted to a patient’s jaw and that aims to prevent continuous tooth grinding. To ensure that my girlfriend received the best-possible treatment, I wanted to find a dentist with a specialization on retainers, braces, and related oral devices. Unfortunately, I found out that this extra search criterion extended the length of my search by a lot because no online health portal that I could find allowed me to search for dentists with such a narrow field of focus. After about an hour of online-surfing, I finally found a suitable dentist, called his practice, and booked an appointment on the next day. “Alright then – we’re off to build you a night guard!” I said with an encouraging tone as we were leaving home to go see the dentist. Only an hour later, we luckily received some good news: Since we had caught my girlfriend’s tooth grinding problem early, only her incisors showed minimal levels of abrasion. “You guys came to see me just in the nick of time. With a new night guard, we’ll put your teeth to sleep nice and easy.” the dentist said jokingly as he told us his diagnosis.       
    
My personal night guard – an expensive “toy”
After a successful night guard fitting session, it was time for the bill. In general, Austrian insurance companies only cover a part of the diagnosis and therapy costs associated with tooth grinding (also called bruxism). Therefore, patients normally have to pay for their night guards out of their own pockets and overall costs can run anywhere between € 100 and € 500, depending on the fitting methodology and materials used. “Oh man – there goes a whole weekend trip to Italy … let’s hope you get a grind-free good night’s sleep, lovely!”


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All the Best & see you soon, Ace!





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