I’m too sexy for my…night guard

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Back in the fall, I became a bit concerned (read: obsessed) about RA and gum/teeth issues.  

It’s a real thing.  A good starting  point for research is here.

I scheduled a dentist appointment because 1) I needed a cleaning and 2) after several days of sore, puffy gums, I finally got the flashlight and looked at them in the mirror.  

My reaction: oh the horror!  My left gum on the side had noticeable recession.  It scared me and I diagnosed myself with gum cancer.  And then convinced myself that all my teeth were going to fall out and I’d turn into my great grandma who used to take her dentures out and wave them around at us when we were little and didn’t want to drink milk. (Granny was awesomely twisted.)

Because, you know, rational.  

Then I turned to the Google machine, read about the whole RA/gum health thing and calmed down.  Well, calmed down some.

My dentist took a good long look and let me know that no, it is not an RA/gum thing.  It is a clinching and grinding my teeth at night thing.  But that gum health is super important in RA patients and we need to get the grinding/clinching under control.

I finally got my night guard last week.  I know, you read correctly that I’ve known I needed it since the fall.  I plead…busy. 

I went in a few weeks ago and the custom tray was done last Friday.


I mean, so SEXY, right?

Yikes.

But I do like it for 2 reasons: it should curb the grinding and clinching and it should also force my jaw into a ‘joint neutral’ position when I sleep.  I don’t have jaw involvement so anything I can do to promote jaw health seems critical.

So I’ve been wearing it at night for a week.  

My takeaways:

– I’m a choking hazard hypochondriac.  It fits snugly on my teeth so there’s no way (hopefully) I could choke on it.

-I couldn’t sleep the first night in it because I was so aware of it.  I wore it a few hours and then took it out.

– I’ve been sleeping better the past few nights with it BUT all my dreams have had me chewing gum.  When I wake up, I’m voraciously chewing on the guard. Like a dog on a bone!  Pretty sure I never clinched or ground my teeth that hard.

-Last night, I apparently pulled it out at some point and it took me a few minutes to find it in my bedding. I put it back in and went back to sleep only to dream about destroying it.  My reaction in my dream to the destruction was not ‘oh no it broke.’ My reaction was ‘hell yeah that thing is gone.’

– I understand why my parents got so pissed seeing a retainer on the bathroom counter growing up.  I paid $200 after insurance so I’ve got to get used to it to see if it works.

I’m sure I’ll get used to it and stop dreaming about its demise. I’m hoping to see no additional gum recession at my next appointment.

Tell me about your experiences with gum recession, night guards- tips? Success stories? 

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11 responses »

  1. I have had one for years. I use to clench so severely that I broke a few teeth. Once I started using the guard, no more sore jaw in the morning and no more cracked teeth. Now that I think about it, I use to dream my teeth were falling out before the guard. You will get use to it. Give it a little time.

    • Thanks Mary! That’s great to hear. Now that I think of it, my jaw is usually sore in the am so I’ll add that to things I’m tracking!

  2. I have one. Sits in a bright orange case in the bathroom. The only time I think about using it is after a few days of the TMJ acting up. I will complain about my jaw hurting and face swelled up. and Hubby will ask if I have been wearing the night guard,

    I hope it works for you. I do not have damage to my teeth, this was for the TMJ. But I have been working on making myself aware of when I am clenching my jaw.

  3. Hilarious read, and so on point. I’m doing quarterly cleanings to prevent any further erosion and keep all my teeth in my head. Thankfully, no mouth guard needed. Hope yours does the trick and becomes more user-friendly.

  4. I have one and have had it for years. You’ll get used to it just be consistent and keep trying. It took me a few months but now I don’t even realize its there. I wish you the best.

  5. I wore a night guard for a few years. Stopped needing it when I got divorced. Go figure. I remember waking in the middle of the night and that thing would be under my belly, on the floor, stuck to my head. Fun memories. Good luck!!

  6. Before I share my experience how to get used to the night guard, I have to recommend that you first find the the reason that you don’t like the night guard. If you were in deep sleep, you wouldn’t notice the night guard at all. It’s only when you’re in a light stage sleep that you notice little irritants — like a night guard or a dripping faucet, a ticking clock, or full bladder.

    ~Ray

  7. Remember what we say in Indiana, girls with mouth guards have teeth, and having teeth is sexy, thus girls with mouth guards are sexy.

    Ok, women in Indiana have teeth but we say that about women from KY.

    Ok, women from KY are not sexy, so maybe we say that about OH. LOL

    I am teasin, but the truth is men can overlook most everything,,,,,,, well except that KY thing. That never turns out ok :).

  8. I have used one for several years now. It helps a lot with TMJ and clenching issues but you have to be consistent. For me it was a chronic pain issue so sexy=me feeling good! ;D

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