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Last month I had a tooth fracture underneath a filling so I got the experience (and the expense) of having my very first crown. Although I'm thrilled to be able to eat on the right side of my mouth again, I've been struggling with pain and sensitivity issues ever since like I've never had before. Of course I went back to the dentist and he adjusted my new crown a little, but the whole right side of my mouth throbs and we've been unable to identify the actual source of the pain. Since the pain seemed to be moving from tooth to tooth the doctor asked me to wait a few weeks to see if the pain settled down any, and he gave me some tips on how to reduce the sensitivity.
Well over the last month the pain and sensitivity have gotten worse and have become more localized, to the point where I was certain I must have an abcess or be in need of a root canal. Yesterday I went back to the dentist prepared for another big bill, thinking I was in need of at least one more crown maybe two. They took three x-rays including a whole panoramic view and STILL couldn't find any indication of anything wrong. I have five children people, I don't tend to feel pain anymore, but my teeth have been kicking my butt and I promise I'm not imagining it!
The doctor adjusted the bite on my new crown once again and then told me that he believes my pain and sensitivity issues are being caused by grinding my teeth in my sleep, and he prescribed some special toothpaste and a mouth guard to wear at night while I'm sleeping. GREAT news – I don't have to pay another couple grand and my teeth are really pretty healthy. BAD news – they want $502 for a specially fitted mouth guard and insurance won't cover a dime!
The very first thing I did when I got home was hit the Internet and start researching bruxism, the technical term for teeth grinding. It turns out that approximately 46% of people have a problem with grinding their teeth, typically at night while they sleep, and the majority of people don't even realize that they're having an issue. The problem is apparently pretty easy to fix, all you have to do is wear a mouth guard at night as protection between your upper and lower teeth so that they won't actually grind together. However, quite a few people that use nighttime mouth guards have a tendency to spit them out while asleep, so they are no longer effective. Wow – imagine if I had actually spent $502 for a small custom fitted piece of plastic and then not be able to keep it in my mouth! How heartbreaking would that be?
Thank goodness for the Internet! Anytime I plan to spend more than $20 on something I head to the Internet first to do some research so that I have all the available information on pricing, quality and suitable alternatives. In this particular instance, I was shocked to find that there are suitable alternatives available for a night mouth guard ranging from around $3 to $100! The lower end of the range is for bulkier mouthpieces intended to be used for sports activities, so I settled on a $54 “dentist recommended” model that is custom molded, small, flexible and lightweight that I believe will work just perfectly for me. In addition to saving a whopping $448 on my dental health needs, I also have the opportunity to earn credits for Bing Rewards every time I search that I can use to buy things like Amazon, Target and Starbucks gift cards. How can you go wrong with being rewarded for saving money by simply searching online?!