Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mastication Validation

I went to the dentist today and was surprised to have him tell me that I don't really have TMJ. WHAT??!! Was so not expecting that. He said my jaw isn't as messed up as I think it is, that it's not aligned wrong or popping really bad (I wanted to ask him what on earth a really bad pop sounded like, because mine is LOUD). However, I wasn't totally off the mark, because I knew the cure for my headaches had something to do with my jaw and that I would need a mouth guard to cure it. Turns out it's the clenching I do at night. I knew this, I just thought it tied in with TMJ. It doesn't. It's just clenching. So he prescribed a mouth guard, which I get fitted for October 8th. (Yeah, that's the soonest. I figure, it's been a month, I can wait three more weeks.) I never even got to use my super-cool blog post title I had all ready for when I announced it was in fact TMJ. (TMJ: Totally Messed-up Jaw)

But get this: I said to him, "Okay, so that takes care of the clenching at night, but during the day I suck on gum all day (quit judging me. I'm just a scared little kid who needs pacified 24/7) and everyone keeps telling me I need to get OFF the gum, that it has to be giving me the headaches. BUT, I know what happens when I don't have gum...I clench. Consciously. I can't help it. My jaw has no memory of what the natural position is supposed to be. When my teeth touch (because they almost never do) I automatically start clenching. This gives me headaches." Can you guess what Dentist then said to me? STAY ON THE GUM!! I about died. I have now been instructed by my dentist, AKA Mandibular Expert, to keep sucking on gum, day in and day out. And there you have it, my friends. Never again will I attempt to quit gum, a wasted effort anyway. I will quit feeling guilty about it, thinking of excuses to quit, and relish the fact that I am allowed--nay, instructed to have all the gum my little heart (mouth) desires.

Dentist explained that since I'm not technically "chewing," I am doing no harm to my jaw, nerves, or teeth, and that if I stopped, I would, as I said, start clenching away, causing serious, serious damage. He didn't need to twist my arm.

So, to sum up, no TMJ, mouth guard on the way, free to suck away--hooray!

17 comments:

Shayla said...

Mandibular Expert...Awesome! :-) No TMJ is good, right? Glad to hear you get that mouth guard, sorry you have to wait. I hope it makes the headaches disappear. And YAY for the validation for your gum sucking...professional validation at that. :-)

NaDell said...

I think it's better for me to chew gum in the afternoon than eat snacks. If I have gum, I'm much less likely to want to eat something else and it keeps flavor in my mouth and not too many calories, if any. I love gum too.

::DANDEE:: said...

Hooray!

Brenda said...

Shall I say - Congratulations!

4starmom said...

Sounds perfect, that is if the mouth guard does the trick. Unrelated, but I thought you'd like to know this. I asked Chandler if Ms. Doyle's husband invented the bar code and he said no, like I was stupid. But, her friend's dad invented the thing at the grocery store that you put your groceries on that rolls and so she could never play at her friend's house because her dad had all this stuff. They could only play at Ms. Doyle's house. Interesting.

Alicia said...

So...Ms. Doyle's friend invented the conveyer belt? I thought that was back when Ford first started making the car.

AOlson said...

Glad it's not TMJ. When Kevin got fitted for his mouth guard he nearly gagged. He said it was aweful. To top it all off, when he got his mouth guard it was too big so they had to do it again! Hopefully yours is a one shot deal.

Marilyn said...

Alicia, I hope you are working on that novel of yours, because if your blog posts are this much fun to read...just imagine how we will all love to read your book.

P.S. I really hope there won't be vampires in your book, though. Me no likey vampires.

P.P.S. Should I bring you a truckload of green extra gum??? I totally will.

Alicia said...

Shayla--No TMJ is very, very good.

Amy--Yeah, I'm SO dreading that part. I have the worst gag reflex known to man, but actually I've done this before when I got a crown and I did it, no gagging. I just focus on breathing and thinking anti-gag thoughts.

Marilyn--absolutely NO VAMPIRES. No worries. Me no likey vampires, either, except one. And he's already in a novel. And...if you have a truckload of green Extra gum lying around, I'll totally take it.

Stacia said...

Yippee! Glad you basically got what you wanted! Answers and a prescription to have all the gum you want!

Noelle said...

woo hooo! oh man, i really hope this guy is right and the mouth guard cures you. i wil PRAY this is the answer. i love your rhyme at the bottom of your post. you are so whitty. hurray for alicia!

meohmyers said...

Have I mentioned I love laughing out loud at a computer screen? Have I mentioned your posts nearly ALWAYS do that to me? Love it. And I love that you still get to "chew" your gum.

My experience in those dreaded molds for mouth guards, retainers, etc. is to ask if you can lean forward. I don't know why they insist on leaning you back with the traumatizing thought of the goop going right down the back of your throat! Lean forward, I tell you! I really think this is going to work. Just remember all the great advice I gave you on the phone! :)

Ms. Kristen said...

What is your fav. flavor of gum? You need a Costco box!

Alicia said...

Kristen- Green Extra. Always.

debsters said...

That's like music to your ears, i'm sure. I'm still laughing at the title of your post, it's one of those words that sounds nasty.

JenFielding said...

Alicia, what exaclty is "sucking on gum?" I can only think of a few times when I've flattened out a piece of gum with my tongue and have come very close to choking to death because it slides down in one whole piece every time I took an accidental deep breath. Please elaborate.

P.S. Way to go with the no TMJ

P.S.S. If you ever see Rachel, ask to borrow the book Icing on the Cake. I think that you would really like this author's style. In fact, I think it's similar to how you might write. She just submitted her sequel to me which will be out in January.

Alicia said...

Debie- I thought the same thing!

Jen- I will elaborate in my next post just for you. And I will have to borrow that book, I am intrigued.