Monday, I had an appointment with my dentist. I've been a pretty vigorous day-clencher and night-grinder for years.
Last spring, my dentist suggested that I get fitted for a hard, acrylic occlusion guard. This $700 plastic monster was supposed to help to protect my teeth at night.
Unfortunately, that was not the case.
I started to notice changes in my mouth and jaw.
One day, I was trying to bite my cuticles, and my teeth couldn't latch onto the skin, as they had faithfully done for over 20 years.
Gone are the days of ripping open a bag of chips with my teeth. They simply don't grip that way anymore. It's horrifying!
As the weeks progressed, I was waking up with severe cheek and jaw pain; so I went back and dentist confirmed that my chompers had, in fact, moved around in my mouth. Comforting!
3 weeks ago, I had a new set of molds created.
They photographed the shit out of my face to see where the discrepancies were.
At Monday's appointment it was confirmed that my jaw is indeed full of discrepancies! I have one (or two?) cross-bites, my teeth only connect at one point (like two teeth in my entire mouth can connect while my jaw is in correct position, the rest are all up in the air), and he said something about a 6mm disparity between where my jaw IS and where the Universe intended it to be.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, my friends.
It's been a rough last few weeks; migraines, ear pain, restless sleep, tension in entire upper quarter of body...
SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME AND MY POOR MOUTH/JAW/FACE?
A few things:
1. I need to follow up with an orthodontist. My dentist, much to my despair, was kind of hands-in-the- air-I-dunno-how-to-fix-this.
He said it would take a lot of moving teeth to get my jaw into the right alignment; and who knows if that will fix the bigger issue (potential joint damage/injury).
So, we'll see what the ortho thinks.
2. I need to relax the eff out. It's no surprise that I'm a high-energy, always-thinking, always doing kind of person. I internalize stress/tension and it is ALL going straight to my face.
The ayurvedic doctor already told me to take it easy; so this is two medical professional's that now agree that I stress way too much.
I didn't really need professionals to confirm what my besties have been telling me for 15 years...BUT it is more of a wake-up call.
So...doctor's orders! I'm now scheduling in mandatory relaxation bubble baths, more meditation and writing, the occasional dose of medical marijuana (just kidding, I only tried that last night for the first time).
3. I am going to put my faith in holistic therapy until further notice. I've been reading a lot of TMJ forums, and many people have had great alleviation of symptoms by introducing holistic remedies.
Swimming, hydrotherapy, massage, exercise, meditation, jaw exercises...these will all be incorporated into my life to see if it makes a difference.
I am also taking a Calcium Magnesium supplement daily, trying to reduce my caffeine/alcohol/(enter toxin of your choice here) intakes.
In more positive news, it's starting to feel super Spring-like outside!
I can't get enough fresh air. I've been walking 8-10km a day, on average.
Time to walk off all of the take-out I partook in over the last few months.
Tonight, I'm going for Mac and Cheese for the Mac and Cheese Week festival (completely contradicting previous statement).
No matter how devoted I am to losing weight, I love mac and cheese and will never pass up the festival of my dreams.
I'm doing a 45 minute Booty Ballet workout class before, so I think it'll cancel itself out. Right?!
The below picture accurately represents how I feel about mac and cheese, cheese, and cheese products.