Back to the grind…

You might think this post is going to be about getting back to work after the weekend…and you’d be wrong. It’s actually about my teeth.

When I took Maya to the dentist, I too had my appointment.  The dental hygienist didn’t for once give me guff about not flossing enough, even though I NEVER floss enough.  She cleaned my teeth with the high-powered water stream, flossed, and polished and went about her merry way.

Then the dentist came to take a look and poked and prodded around for a bit, and said something to the effect of, “Well, I don’t see any cavities, but since you grind your teeth, you might run into problems later. You should get a night guard.”

My immediate response was, “Well, I used to grind, but I don’t anymore” – which is true. For the most part.  I don’t grind anymore (at least not to my knowledge, and Richard hasn’t complained), but I do clench my jaw, which can have the same effect.

Several years ago…I was at a period in my life where I wasn’t sure where to turn professionally. I was good at what I was doing, but wasn’t happy in some ways, and a stress case a lot of the time. And rather than, say, talking about that openly, I ground the enamel off my teeth.  My ex used to have to wake me up in the middle of the night to stop, and sometimes I would wake myself up.  Where many people’s teeth have cute little nooks and crannies with which to chew their vittles, I have near flat molars. All from stress that I internalized. I ended up quitting the job, moving on to something new, and the grinding subsided.

When Dr. Z said this again, I became somewhat defensive because the professional situation isn’t the same in anyway…but when I thought about it again, there are definitely some similarities.  I’m in a better place now personally, so I think that’s why I’m just clenching my jaw as opposed to grinding – I don’t internalize as much, and the situation is not as dire.  But it’s still a situation that I need to address.

A few days after the appointment when I was cleaning out a drawer, I randomly found a package with a night guard I had ordered online, but that had gone unused.  I remember using the second one that was in the package last time I was grinding away on my chompers, but unfortunately the things are so damn uncomfortable, I gave up.

And in reality, the guard is just a band-aid.  I need to root out the cause and treat that instead. Though I suspect doing that will be even more uncomfortable than the guard.

By Joy

I'm 42, a remarried mom of an 8 year old girl and a toddler son, a teacher, and a writer. People tell me I tend to be brutally honest and ...tell it like it is, so I had hoped to use this outlet to keep me sane while I got used to my new life as a stay-at-home Mom back when I was home with my worked. And it's been therapeutic through the end of a marriage and the emergence of me...


  1. Congrats on trying to fix the root cause of your grinding. I used to grind and made a very conscious effort to relieve stress after receiving guidance as well as being educated on the long-term effects of grinding.

    I still use a nightguard to help prevent any wear on my teeth and the custom one I had made is a lot more comfortable and softer than the store bought one I used to use.

    Best wishes on your path to improving your health!

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