Friday, July 22, 2011

Show Me Your Teeth

It turned out Four couldn't hang out today, which makes me nervous...I don't know if he reads this, but I know the thing with my parents upsets him...which is perfectly understandable, of course. I just hope I didn't offend him by bringing it up. Four truly is an important part of my life, and I hope he knows that. 

In other news, my teeth hurt. I'll definitely be bringing this up again as there isn't enough information on it available-- as I found out when I was trying to discover what the hell was wrong with me. I mentioned it in My Story, but it's still bugging me so you're going to hear about it again. 

After I broke my leg I spent the next 8 days stoned out of my gourd on Vicodin. It was lovely. But as I started to come off of it I started noticing I was waking up with brutal headaches, that my teeth hurt, and the muscles in my face, neck, and upper back were sore. By the time I came off of it, full stop, I discovered what the problem was because now I was doing it during the day. 

I was clenching my jaw. 

Not grinding, which gets a lot more attention, but clenching. Constant, walnut-breaking pressure the second I took my mind off of keeping my teeth apart. When I would realize I was doing it I could open my mouth, but I often didn't notice until it started to hurt. I wasn't doing it consciously, like how you don't notice yourself blinking or breathing every second of every day. 

Most remedies are shit. Like "relax" or "aromatherapy", that doesn't do a whole lot. Face massaging helps, but you look strange making different shapes with your mouth while rubbing your temples and the hinge of your jaw in public. Heat helps, so heating pads or tea bags you can stand to have on your face are alright-- I would even, when I got desperate, plug up the sink, fill it with hot water and plunge my face into it for as long as I could bear as many times as I possibly could without burning myself or passing out. 

So I went to the dentist. He suggested a $500 mouth piece to sleep in and my parents said no way, so I got an over-the-counter mouth guard from a drug store, which worked great at night, having something to absorb the pressure. But I was still clenching during the day, so a few months later I went to another dentist. 

We stopped seeing our old dentist because he screwed up on my dad's teeth, so I went to the new dentist. She was no help other than to suggest a different dentist. 

So I went to another dentist. We ended up getting the mouth piece he suggested, a hard, $700 one that I was to wear 24 hours a day. That worked fine for a few months, until the lack of shock absorption led to having a tooth fracture that the first new dentist, the one that suggested the one that I was seeing at the time, couldn't find. That same fracture is sitting in my mouth as I sit here, waiting for the crack to become visible or get infected. Good stuff. 

So I went back to wearing my soft mouth guard at night. A few months later I went on anti-depressants as part of my fibromyalgia program, and the daytime clenching stopped completely. I still clench at night, but not at all during the day anymore. 

Or rather, until recently, but I suppose it makes sense that if my depression is sneaking through cracks in my anti-depressant then of course my jaw clenching would. Doesn't make it less annoying, though. Or painful. 

Moral of this story is to stick to your guns. If you're miserable and you can't figure out what's causing it and make it stop keep looking for an answer, and keep looking for someone to help. The answer's out there somewhere, I promise. 

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