What began this morning as a regular 6-month cleaning at the dentist turned into quite an adventure. I wasn't much in the mood for an adventure, but I think it's going to be a huge positive a couple weeks from now.
Over the last six months I have developed a nasty habit of clenching my teeth when I sleep. Sometimes even when I'm awake, truth be told. I don't know why. Have I been especially stressed? Not really. Busy, yes. And when I get over-busy, my mind gets keyed-up and that must come out as teeth clenching. Many nights I wake up several times feeling my teeth ache and trying to make my jaw relax. So I confessed all this to my hygienist, who I love, love, love. (If she ever leaves this office, I'm following her. She is so gentle and thorough. And even when she's reprimanding me for not flossing enough, it comes out sweetly.) One comment led to another and another, and it was quickly established that my clenching has been "extreme" and I need to get a night guard made. She quoted lots of statistics about the strength of your jaw muscles and how many pounds per square inch are exerted when you clench.
The bottom line, for me, was that she told me I had the jaw muscles of a body builder!! Body builders have always given me the creeps. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is appealing to me about a body builder. Not even their jaws.
I asked if I could get some kind of note from my dentist to give to my doctor that shows how much "working out" I've been doing as I sleep. I wish it burned massive calories. I wish I could count it as a cardio workout, but no such luck. Apparently, there is nothing good or beneficial about it. Doggone it. Of course I'd find something I excel at only to be told it's not good for me. Bummer.
So then I had to have the impressions done. Oh, I have done that to so many people in my past. And now I was the victim. They had a student interning and asked if I'd mind her taking my impressions. I politely declined, for her sake. I have a gag reflex that is ridiculous. I can gag swallowing a pill. I will resist the urge to go into any more detail. She handed me a gigantic wad of paper towels "just in case". Thankfully, the "in case" never occurred, because I'm not sure what good the paper towels would have done. She woefully underestimated my abilities. There's another thing I excel at that is not good for me. Or for anyone.
So in two weeks, I get this thing to sleep with. My dentist told me that there will be a slight adjustment sleeping with it, but then I won't be able to sleep without it. He equated it to a baby with a pacifier. First a body builder, then a baby. But, the really great news is that my quality of sleep is supposedly going to dramatically increase. Amen and hallelujah. Bring it on.
So, here are the things I heard at the dentist that I wish I hadn't heard:
1. I have the jaw of a body builder.
2. My son, by dental insurance standards, is an adult.
3. "Deep breaths through your nose!! Slow, deep breaths! Think about the rain!!!"
4. There is some visible wear on my teeth from the clenching. Ugh.
5. In the near future, I'm going to need a pacifier to fall asleep.
The thing I said at the dentist that I wish I wouldn't have said:
1. When the assistant was finding the right size tray, and realized she had to go up one size because the first on was too narrow, she said, "You are built just like me."
To which I replied, "Short and wide?"
(I meant, Lord knows I meant, my arch is shorter front-to-back, and wide side-to-side.)
As soon as I said it, my cheeks turned all shades of red. I started to clarify I meant a wide arch. I'm hoping she assumed that.
The trays of goop in my mouth were much more comfortable than my foot in my mouth.