I woke up riddled with anxiety.
Since 2008 I’ve been under enormous stress and unbeknownst to me I’ve apparently been clenching and grinding my teeth. This sounds pretty innocent but now it is a problem of epic proportions.
This is all about to change. One day I noticed that my teeth weren’t lining up quite right. My front teeth were touching one another. Then a couple days later they would shift again and then again. I was having a lot of trouble chewing because my teeth wouldn’t meet.
I went to the dentist who for a mere $200 filed a couple of teeth to make my bite align and ordered a $400 night custom night guard to fix the problem. Sounded simple enough. WRONG. SO VERY WRONG.
I got the night guard and it squeezed my back molars so badly I couldn’t stand it. Apparently I put it on my nightstand during the night and it was gone in the morning thanks to a sheltie who thought it was delicious.
Instead of spending another $400 for a night guard (which I was still paying off) I went to CVS and bought an over the counter one. The first one slipped down my throat during the night and I was barely able to grab it and put it on the nightstand. The sheltie ate it.
Back to CVS I purchased the kind you boil and custom mold to your teeth. They run about $35. I guess I wasn’t finding it too comfortable as I took it out during the night. Yes, the sheltie ate it.
I purchased yet another one and this time guarded it like Ft. Knox. Not very comfortable, sometimes I would take it out during the night but kept the case on my nightstand.
One day I noticed a hole through one side of it. Yes, that’s how hard I was clenching and grinding. I went back to the dentist who told me my teeth were shifting and while she could repeat the $600 process, it was only going to happen again. She said there was no reason for my teeth to be moving because there was no gum disease so it was definitely all from stress. She suggested I learn how to cope with stress (thank you Captain Obvious) and go to an orthodontist.
Walking into the orthodontist’s office was like walking into Gymboree. I’ve never felt older. He looked in my mouth and said for about $7500 he could fix it with Invisalign. That’s a ton of money that I don’t have lying around at the moment. I’ll get back to you.
A couple days later I was noticing not only couldn’t I chew, I was having difficulty speaking. Ok sign me up; I’ll rob a bank.
I made the first two appointments and then got a phone call from the dentist. He said in his 45 years of practice, my case was so severe he could not help me. He said I needed a “variety of dental modalities,” including jaw surgery, crowns, braces, and a speech pathologist because apparently I am a tongue thruster. His suggestion was the NJ School of Dentistry.
Off to Google. Yes the School of Dentistry offers a “variety of dental modalities” at a discount rate because the work is performed by students “under the supervision of a professor.” Now, if a guy who’s been doing this for 45 years can’t fix me you think I’m going to let a bunch of students take a crack at it?
Back to Google, my new BFF. I researched misaligned teeth, open posterior bite, and everything else by BFF suggested. Everything said the same thing: jaw surgery followed by braces.
The jaw surgery is the most gruesome, brutal, horrible thing I’ve ever seen and makes a heart transplant look like a day at the beach. The best part is since it’s considered dental, health insurance won’t cover it even though it’s done in a hospital and you’re there for a couple of days. No pun intended, but I can’t wrap my head around jaw surgery. There HAS to be another way.
As for braces, despite their commercials, apparently Invisalign won’t work for something as severe as I’ve got. Now I’m always trying to look younger but I’m not aiming for Jr. high school young. Today braces come in fun colors like purple. I don’t think so. Can I pull off gold ones and start rapping?
My husband remembered a former client who is a dentist and called her. She recommended a “miracle orthodontist” that she has personally used both as a child an adult. He apparently goes to Europe to study new methods and brings them back. He doesn’t believe in jaw surgery! YEAH! Instead you wear an appliance for a while and turn the screws every two days to change the shape of your jaw, before he puts on the braces. Kristen said “it was kind of cool.” I think it sounds like something I saw in a museum in Scotland. Unfortunately Dr. Miracle has just left for Hong Kong for two weeks to visit his kids. I made the first available appointment and even offered to pick him up at the airport.
During the past two weeks I have been aware of my teeth ever obsessive second of the day, where my tongue is, where my teeth are, if any are touching when I close my mouth. Can I chew in ANY spot.
My appointment with Dr. Miracle is tomorrow.
I just figured out why I have been riddled with anxiety all day.