Never, in all my four decades as a breathing slash sleeping humanoid, have I ever been told that I snore. So, at least I’ve got that going for me. Howeva…since I was in early grade school, there’s been no one who didn’t delight in their opportunity to tell me that I grind my teeth while I’m sleeping. I never had much proof of it. Didn’t believe it. It never woke me up. I couldn’t recreate it while I was awake. The reasons for my disbelief went on and on and on.
Then? I had two children who manage to vibrate the bed with their night grinding and never have a memory or notion of it the next day. They still don’t believe me for many of these same reasons. The same reasons that, up until recently, caused me to doubt these repulsive stories about myself! Night Grinding…*Indeed*!
My oldest daughter was blessed with the same space in her front teeth that I had growing up. I figure I must have monster molars because, eventually, my space grew in. But my front four just wouldn’t “stay put”…curious. But, okay. So they put a small wire behind them. A wire which has mysteriously snapped not once or twice, but three times. It’s an easy fix. But, I just figured, eh…I have to go easier on the Starlight Mints. Couldn’t be anything else!
My little one has been similarly blessed with always having a good checkup. But, alternately, inherited my curse of the whole pacifier (suckie) thing 😒. I had mine until I was four. She is seven and still finds comfort in hers at night. When I told her dentist about her grinding, she told me not to rush the suckie away because it keeps her teeth parted and the damage from a pacifier is far less comparatively than that of grinding her teeth. And rush it away I did *not*! But she has chewed through roughly 80 suckies in her lifetime. Similar to the two times I relented in buying little rubber strips to put between my back teeth at night and bit right through both. Must be a faulty product! Grind my teeth!? Clutch the pearls, never!
Admittedly, I’ve never needed much dental work. I have one crown which, to the surprise of no one but me apparently, was because of a fractured molar. Since getting it, I’ve attributed all my jaw pain to this one perceived ‘botched’ crown. Even though, at night I often have to consciously part my teeth because I feel my jaw clench in tension as I’m ‘resting’. I always thought it was just the general high-strung’edness I’m always accused of…and that damn crown. Then last year, I get an abscess in my jaw. The lovely ladies at the ER say words like ‘bloodstream’, ‘infection in your heart’….’near your brain’. Good things like that. And rush me to antibiotics. It goes away. I blame the crown and go on with my life.
Then…with the impending polar vortex upon us at the end of January, I crack another…molar. Major. Like, can’t be fixed, Major. They graciously removed it for me and hauled it away in forty below temps to the place all Grinders teeth go to quietly die.
…When I’m back for my cleaning in February, he says, “I see a problem”. A problem he’d surely seen last time but had decided to let me live on oblivious for a month. He said, over the years, the insidious intermittent abscess had left a hole…in my jaw bone…I say, self righteously, still in that relative oblivion, “I know! It’s that damn faulty crown!” I knew it, that damn crown! At which point he and his assistant both quickly correct me, “No. The one in front of it!”
It was cracked as well. Had been for a long time which is what had caused all the problems with swelling and pain in the last year or so. Then we talked about fun stuff like necrotic tissue and granulation and infection and horse antibiotics and a three hour procedure and a years healing time and he scheduled me for my first friggin’ root canal that I ended up having last Tuesday. Mind you, I am a fantastic patient…but ‘exploratory’ root canals are no joke. BUT, I did get secret ice cream for myself and got to skip school that day! Good with the bad, my friends.
In summation, any other place, you’re golden but, God help you if you are a molar in the Southeast quadrant of my mouth. It’s a damn good thing I positively and unequivocally do NOT grind my teeth. Just imagine all the trouble I’d have then!!!