There is a name for nearly every strange little condition we humans can have. We love to name things. I wonder if there’s a name for the condition of loving to name conditions…
Anyway, here’s a name for you: bruxism.
It’s a funny word, it’s a weird condition, and I have it.
Many years ago, a friend whose house I spent the night at told me that I grind my teeth at night. I didn’t give it much thought for a long time.
Recently, I was taking a medication which my dentist said could cause me to grind and clench my teeth, and he told me to pay attention during the day to see if I was doing either of those things.
I did pay attention, and I noticed myself clenching. When I stopped taking that medication, however, it got better.
I forgot all about it until my latest dentist appointment a few days ago. The hygienist used a camera to show me images of my teeth on a monitor on the wall. The damage is getting worse.
Underneath the enamel of your teeth, there is apparently a much more sensitive layer of material, which is yellow in color. In the deep gouges I have formed on the tops of my bottom molars, the yellow material is becoming visible.
If I continue to grind my way through my enamel, I’ll reach that sensitive layer, and it will not be fun. It will have to be covered up so that I’m not in agony all the time, and it can’t simply be filled like a cavity.
If the dentist were to fill only the pits on the teeth I have damaged, I would not be able to bite properly, to close my teeth all the way, because there would be high spots on my molars.
Thus, the treatment would involve putting crowns on all of my bottom teeth, which my dentist told me would likely cost me somewhere around $50-60,000.
Not only am I causing erosion on the biting surface of my molars and premolars, but I also have caused two of my fillings to pop out of their cavities. (Where did they go? Yuck.)
I tend to get cavities on the outsides of my teeth, at the gum line. When someone grinds or clenches their teeth, it puts pressure on the teeth, causing them to flex, particularly at the gum line.
I put enough stress through movement on my fillings that they came loose and disappeared. It would be pointless for the doctor to replace them before I stopped the grinding problem, because they would just come out again.
So, what’s the solution? A nighttime mouth guard.
I have the option of getting a custom one from the dentist, for about $400, but it will take a few weeks to be ready, so I went to the local pharmacy and picked one up for $28.
This particular model is customized by heating it in a bowl of water in the microwave to soften the plastic (I chose one that was BPA- and phthalate-free, in the hopes that it would be less toxic).
After it cools off, you center it in your mouth using a mirror, then bite down, and keep it in place for a couple of minutes, then carefully remove it and cool it off the rest of the way using cold water, so that it hardens.
I didn’t love biting into hot plastic, but I didn’t suffer any burns, and it was over before too long.
It’s bulky and weird to wear at night. I think the one from the dentist would be more comfortable, and ideally I would be able to close my lips around it more easily. Having something in your mouth makes you salivate, so that’s interesting for the first few minutes.
It’s not something I would have chosen to do for fun, but hopefully it’s saving me future pain, complications, and a huge expenditure. If so, it’s worth the minor hassle.
*The title of this post comes from several Bible passages in Matthew and Luke. There has been no weeping along with the tooth grinding. Not for me, at least.
Here’s my latest book review from my other blog:
Originally posted on Elizabeth Editorializes:
This is apparently my 55th review on this blog. I probably should have made a bigger deal of #50, but I wasn’t paying attention and it slipped past unnoticed. (It was “Lost Lake” by Sarah Addison Allen, in case you were wondering.)
I have procrastinated in writing this review. I wanted to like this book more than I did, because I like Neil Gaiman.
Actually, I think Neil Gaiman is a really excellent specimen of a human being, a great author, a very creative mind. He’s good people.
That’s why I feel uncomfortable saying that I was not entirely impressed by this book.
There’s nothing wrong with “The Ocean at the End of the Lane.” I enjoyed a lot of the elements, but together, they just didn’t make a final product that satisfied me.
This book confused me. The narration comes…
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I think I put too much pressure on myself to write about something that I think is worth publishing. If I feel like I don’t have anything insightful enough to share, I often won’t write anything at all.
I’m trying to get over that. Although my post about the ducks at the park wasn’t particularly meaningful or philosophical, it was still a specific subject that I was addressing.
I’ve had luck with that method in the past, which is probably why I feel as if I need to repeat it. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to simply write and not worry about having a coherent theme with a strong message.
I thought about several topics to write about today, and decided that they were a little too heavy to tackle on a Monday.
I rediscovered a page of writing advice yesterday, on the McSweeney’s page. It’s old, but a lot of the points are valuable enough to go over again.
I’ve also been thinking about something I’ve seen a few articles about online, which is the tendency of women/writers/women writers to use/overuse the word “just.”
(Here’s an article about it that many of the other articles have been referencing.)
I’ve decided to pay attention to my usage of the word, and to try to use it less in my writing and in my conversations. It does seem to show a lack of confidence in what you’re saying, which I’d like to avoid. It’s apologetic, qualifying, self-effacing. It should be easily avoidable.
I suspect it’s going to be almost as difficult to cut back on as the word “like,” however. I’m still working on that one in my speech.
To help me keep an eye on it in my writing, I have a post-it note on my computer monitor that says EDIT FOR “JUST.” Once I get myself back into revising gear, I’m going to go through my book looking for that word specifically, and remove it wherever possible.
That’s all I’ve got for today. Have a good Monday, folks!