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December 8, 2004

BehindTheMedspeak: Bruxism (you call it teeth-grinding)

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Millions of people suffer from this condition, which can lead to all sorts of major problems.

Among them:

• Terrible headaches which are often mistaken for things like brain tumors and worked up at great trouble and expense

• Earache

• Sore, painful jaw

• Damage to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) sometimes requiring reconstructive surgery

• Loss of the biting surfaces of molars resulting in very expensive restorative dentistry and unending time and money spent in the dentist's chair

• Anxiety, stress, and tension

• Insomnia, depression, eating disorders

• Disruption of the sleep of others who happen to be in the same room

The problem is easily treatable; however, if you ask your dentist to deal with it, prepare to spend hours in the office and a couple hundred dollars.

Then there are the "dentist-designed-and-approved" versions you find at Walgreen's and Kroger for $25-$50 a pop.

I've got a dirty little secret to tell you: my solution (below) is exactly the same thing except without the fancy packaging (and price).

I'll treat you here for two dollah.

Yes, you heard me right: $2.

That's the expensive solution; I also offer one for under a buck.

The treatment for bruxism is a dental appliance you wear at night in bed while you sleep.

It provides an absorbent barrier for the immense force exerted by your jaws against the chewing surfaces of your teeth.

Your dentist will make a fancy-shmancy plaster mold of your teeth and bite, then ship it off to a lab where they'll make the plastic device.

Then you'll return to your dentist's office, where it will be fitted and finished.

That'll be $200, please.

Pay the receptionist on the way out.

Ka-ching.

Or you can do it the way I do.

Do as I do, not as I say, is my advice.

There's a button in the ashtray of my car that says,

    Take my advice, I'm not using it

But I digress.

Here's where to buy the high-end bookofjoe night-bite (that's the name my dentist who made my first one, back in LA, gave it).

It's pictured up top this post.

Comes in black, red, yellow, blue, or clear (pictured).

Costs $1.99.

I like the clear one.

If $1.99 is too rich for your blood, try this one:

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It's 95 cents here.

The difference between the two is in the thickness of the plastic.

The expensive one is thicker and easier to work with.

Both were designed to be used by football players.

Simply follow the instructions on how long to boil them before inserting into your mouth.

Remember, though, that you put the device on your LOWER teeth, not the uppers as the instructions direct for football.

If you're religious about using yours, it'll last about a year or two before you wear through it.

Then you buy another one.

Well worth the investment.

Or you can go the route that runs through your dentist's office and bank account.

Don't be dopey.

December 8, 2004 at 03:01 PM | Permalink


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