Sunday, May 1, 2011

I Have Bruxism.

That's right, folks; it exists, and I have it.

The Merriam-Webster definition of bruxism is "the habit of unconsciously gritting or grinding the teeth especially in situations of stress or during sleep."

This only started in the past three months or so. At first I thought I must be doing something awesome in my subconscious, like fighting velociraptors in my dreams, but it turns out that I just do it. When I'm stressed, when I'm not stressed, when I'm engaging in an apologetic tirade (which is a story for another time) or participating in a dance-off in my dreams, I grind my teeth so hard that it wakes up my poor husband most nights. 

As I mentioned this to various friends, I was surprised at how many of them knew that Wal-Mart sells "dental guards" to ameliorate the effects of bruxism. Not that they used the term, but come on. I mean, how pervasive is this condition? For all I know, my college friends all have small boxes with molds shaped to their implements of chomping while I thought I was the only one in the world who was apparently so disturbed that I had to masticate the helpless folds of nothingness for hours each night.

Anyway, Chris and I went to Wal-Mart today, and I bought a dental guard. 

I don't know why she's so happy to have one.

Here's mine! Yusss.

This particular dental guard was roundabouts $23. Okay. Cool. Whatevs. The disturbing part was the packaging. In the upper-right corner was a picture of teeth - yes, just teeth - with a huge, 200-lb weight bearing down on them. "This is what grinding your teeth is like!!!!!!" the caption read (though perhaps it did not have 6 exclamation points, or any at all). 

Greeeat. Not only have I not been fighting velociraptors, I've been putting a 200-lb weight on my teeth. 

So, my exciting activity for tonight was boiling the guard to soften the plastic-like material, then shape it to my teeth. Now my "dentures," as I call them, are all ready to go when I feel like closing my computer and closing my eyes. I must say, this all makes me feel rather humbled. There's nothing like having a weird device to keep you from unwittingly doing something that's bad for you that you can't stop doing even when you want to to take you down a peg.

Anyhow, thus concludes another episode of my surprisingly normal odd life. If your teeth and jaw hurt in the morning and your "sleep partner" - as the package calls the unfortunate person who has to put up with the lovely crrrk crrrk crrrkkk your grinding teeth make - has especially dark circles under his/her eyes, you mighty have bruxism. 

So then, dear reader, you should join me in my grand denture adventure.


  1. That's a terrifying picture

  2. Which one?

    Surely you can't mean mine.

  3. My mother grinds her teeth too. For as long as I can remember she has worn one of those guards. I didn't realize the problem was called bruxism though.