24 June 2012

Face Of Pain

I hate dentists.  Not "am afraid of dentists"  Hate.  No offense if you are a dentist.  I am sure you are a perfectly nice person, but in my experience, no matter what I do, some dentist will make some wisecrack about the fact that I am a grinder.  

See. I didn't know that I had this problem until I was 18.  I woke up one day and couldn't open my mouth. AT ALL.  I got some pain relievers on board and called a local dentist.  I get in the chair and they say to me 'You have indications of a prolonged night grinding"  Apparently I had been grinding so hard that I strained a  muscle or something causing pain and swelling. Added bonus.  Years of grinding have worn away most of the enamel on my teeth.  I have a LOT of fillings. A LOT.  I've had teeth break.  Multiple times.  I've had a tooth pulled as a result.  My dentist wanted to put a crown there, but I just couldn't see spending several hundred dollars saving a shell of a tooth that had already broken in my mouth like 4 times.  I hated that tooth.  I was glad when it was pulled. 

You might be wondering why no one noticed my grinding problem at my annual dental checks.  Well, that's easy.  I didn't get dental checks.  I saw a dentist in 2nd grade and then not again until I had enough earning power to take myself.  Sometimes, us kids just didn't stack up on either of my parents priorities.  First, their marriage went from bad to worse, self destructing in front of my sisters and me.  Loudly.  Painfully.  We just didn't measure up in importance for trifles like dental check ups and vision screenings.

After their divorce, life was a series of one ups, running each other down to the children and a frenetic search for new mates.   My mom settled on my stepdad after a couple of different boys.  My dad dated my mom's best friend for a while (yeah, that was popular) Dated a lot of other women and ultimately married my stepmom.   I don't want to go into things very much- I've got a very carefully constructed band-aid over those wounds. But for neither mom or dad, dental care wasn't a priority.  My siblings and I weren't much of a priority at all.

I've worn a night guard off and on for years.  I don't think I actually need it most nights.  I often forget to put in in when I have one.  Anyway, I've been wearing one off and on for a while.  But lately, I've been struggling.  You've read that here.  Poor diet leads to poor stress control for me.  Poor stress control leads to grinding.  I don't know if I've hurt my face again or if my poor molar is about to give up, but my face hurts.  Nothing is swollen. There is no fever.  My face hurts. I don't want to knit.  I do want to eat to comfort myself.  But I don't want to eat because it hurts.  I'm tired from it.  I don't know what to do.  It's Saturday, it's been hurting since Thursday.  It brought with it a prodigious headache. Heat doesn't help. Naproxen doesn't help.

I don't know.  I'll call my dentist on Monday.  When I go there, I know he will make some kind of joke about my grinding.  It will make me feel like shit. Which brings back my shitty childhood.  Which feels super.  Right now, I just want my face to stop aching.

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