Kitchen Living Room

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Brace Face

One of my impromptu goals this year is to fix my teeth issues. So last month I had my wisdom teeth removed (I only had 3 - lucky me). That left only the crookedness of my leftover teeth. I've never hard braces, but I've always wanted straight teeth, particularly on the bottom of my mouth. The crowding on my lower teeth feels uncomfortable most of the time.
A few years ago I went to the dentist because I had been grinding my teeth at night. I knew it because when I woke up, my jaw would hurt, and sometimes I would wake myself up with the motion in my mouth. Waking up grinding your teeth is not fun. Teeth grinding is offically known as bruxism. So sometimes I say to myself that I brux my teeth. That is not offical. That is inside my head. I say it like Brucks. He he. Anyway.

The dentist told me that I could be fitted for a mouth guard that I could wear at night. I trusted her, but the price she quoted me was not feasible at the time. I think it was between $500-$600. I was inbetween my undergraduate college and my first Real job, taking a few graduate courses in a small town. I decided to go with her next best choice, a mouth guard from Walmart (joy).

Doctor'S Nightguard Advanced Comfort, 1 Box
I got the one above for about $20. You heat it up in a pot of water on the stove and then squish it into your mouth to form it to the shape of your teeth. Heating up plastic in water = not my favorite thing, but being able to sleep without grinding my teeth was worth it. I slept fine, and eventually I forgot about using the mouth guard and I lost it. I tried to figure out why I might be grinding my teeth anyway (you know, solve the real problem and not the dummy problem). My dentist told me that it could be one of two things, or a combination of the two: stress and the way the top of my jaw sits on my lower jaw. She said that braces (with the use of rubber bands) could reposition my jaw a bit so that I was less likely to grind my teeth based on how my teeth sit in my mouth. Made sense, but if I couldn't afford a professional mouth guard, I sure as heck wasn't going to go for braces. So I worked on stress instead.

I determined that most of my stress was from uncertainty in my life, particularly in regard to my work. I decided that if I could let go of being afraid of failure, I wouldn't be stressed. That really worked well, and now that I have a Real job, it's still working. I go through periods where I am afraid of being fired, really for no good reason. I'm just afraid because I know that even if I work as hard as I possibly can, someone can still fire me. There's just no Job Guarantee. So I decided to be OK with that. Sure, I could be fired tomorrow. (Well, technically I probably couldn't be because I'm on vacation. But they could fire me on Monday!) BUT, it's OK. Because I can't control everything, and being fired would not be the end of the world. Some of the best advice I've ever heard is the idea that everything is what you consider it to be. If you have something ahead of you that seems awful, it's going to be just that. The magical part of this is that just because something SEEMS awful, doesn't mean that is one of its inherent characteristics. You ASSIGNED it that description! So rewrite the adjectives. Suddenly an inconvenience is an ADVENTURE. (I'm pulling this from G.K. Chesterton. He wrote an incredible book that I love called Orthodoxy, and it's great whether or not you're religious, so don't be influenced too much by the name one way or another.)

I wholeheartedly believe that working on problems from a mental standpoint FIRST is going to help you out the most in the long run. After that part is done, you can choose to move on to getting professional help. That's where my new orthodontist comes in! All of this is to say that I have BRACES! And I am very excited.

Braces are definitely going to help me with the pressure in my bottom teeth, because I can't think my way out of that discomfort. Braces really don't hurt all that much, and it's way less painful than having wisdom teeth removed. I'll keep you up to date on how it goes. I'm going to have them for two years! 

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