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.
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.
– 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?