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Case Presentation for Occlusal Guards

Our ongoing series on Charlotte Dentistry® career blog

Current research shows that someOcclusal Guards 10 million plus individuals suffer from TMJ syndrome, a condition which prevents the temporomandibular joint from functioning properly. 50-90% of the population are bruxers and half of those people eventually become chronic enough that they require therapy!

Thanks to certain brands marketing sugar free products or gum made with Xylitol, many people falsely believe chewing gum is “good” for their teeth. While these products do offer less sugar and fewer calories, it is the act of chewing which places unnecessary wear on your joints, thus causing undue pain or discomfort. In the dental world, this has become a constant battle as we continue to explain to patients that chewing gum is, in no way, healthy for anyone’s smile.

Knowing what a patient hears on a regular basis is good to keep in the back of your mind as you suggest things like occlusal night guards. Many patients reject the idea of paying for a night guard when they believe they’re getting one of equal value over the counter (and at lesser cost), so remember – patient education will always be your first line of defense and your presentation of diagnosed treatment is secondary. (We know that patients do not invest in things they feel they do not need and they do not buy from those they do not trust, so we educate and then present treatment in a no pressure environment.)

Try to explain to patients that “getting what you pay for” applies to dental care just like it does with anything else. They simply will not reap the same benefit from an over the counter night guard as they would from one that is custom made of stronger materials. I recommend explaining how much force the human bite has to a night time bruxer and let them know it’s subconscious, they can’t help it, and encourage them not to waste their money on something they will chew through in a matter of weeks (or days, in some cases). In this same conversation, explain that you’d like to hear feedback from them once the occlusal guard has been delivered.

Keeping in contact with the patient and providing care after the device has been delivered is not only good customer service but it also creates value and trust in you, the doctor.

Would You Like To Know More? Use our “Ask the Expert” feature on our Website.

~Written By Rachael Armstrong

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