I never had any dental appliances growing up, although I probably should have had braces because my middle tooth on the bottom is behind all the others as if it’s the one Navy Seal who didn’t volunteer to go in after Bin Laden. (Beginning Woody Allen impression: “Sorry, fellas. You know if it was Zero Light Thirty I’d be right there with you guys, but, ahem, at night, with the, uh, glare from the oncoming, ahem, missiles on my glasses and my, um, analyst says I’d really do better back at HQ getting some spinach caught on me, but, ahem, don’t worry, because I’ve got your backs, or, at least I can see your backs, so, ah, go get ‘em.”)
I bring this up because, at the age of 59, I find myself in possession of a night guard.
If you’re saying to yourself, “Wow, he makes so much money from his blog that he needs an evening security detail,” don’t think I don’t hear the sarcasm in your inner voice.
My night guard, of course, comes courtesy of my dentist, who informed my that I grind my teeth at night, which I take to mean that I even get annoyed at stuff in my sleep. He has shown me photographs of the tops of my teeth, where there is evidence of the enamel wearing away from the constant scraping as I dream of whatever it is that is pissing me off, possibly Congress, or maybe the fact that suddenly everything, including Hershey’s Kisses, comes in pumpkin spice flavor.
Anyway, so the dentist took a mold of my teeth and produced this clear, rubbery thing that I’m supposed to wear at night. It was fun for awhile, bouncing my teeth together, but then I mostly forgot it was there, which was a problem when I woke up in the middle of the night for a drink of water and dribbled all over myself.
My dentist told me to wash the thing with soap and water, then rinse it thoroughly so that it doesn’t taste like I’m being punished for cursing. That seemed like an awful lot of trouble, so I purchased a NatureZone™ gizmo which promises to sanitize my night guard with “portable, chemical-free nano-technology!” I chose this product because I know from reading and watching science fiction that nano-technology is a really great thing except when it’s responsible for ending human life on Earth.
So every morning I put my night guard in this box and press a button, which initiates the zapping of my dental appliance with “millions of Ozone IONS” to “neutralize 99.99% of known Bio-Pathogens.” When I press the button, there’s an eerie blue glow inside and a blinking green light on the exterior, both of which I guess are supposed to indicate that there are ions flying around in there, although, frankly, I have no proof that any sort of nano-technology is going on. For all I know, there are a bunch of tiny aliens in there with brushes and blue flashlights or, somewhat more likely, the only thing that happened when I pressed the button is that two light bulbs, one blue and one green, came on. And even if it does what it’s supposed to, I’m not entirely sure it’s safe to have all those ions running all over something I’m going to put into my mouth.
Besides, the remaining .01% of known bio-Pathogens will probably get to me anyway.
I also have another problem. Since the grinding issue was pointed out to me, I’ve come to realize I do it during the day, too. And it’s not just when I get comments from clients like “Legal says we can’t say ‘free.’ Change it to ‘complimentary.’” I can be watching cute puppy videos (shouldn’t they stop the poor little guy from repeatedly bashing his head into that mirror?) and notice my teeth are grinding. When I went to see Gravity, I ground my teeth through the whole movie once I had finished my popcorn, which was about five minutes in, right around the time when (SPOILER ALERT) the third guy, who might as well have been wearing a red shirt* and needed this job like he needed a hole in his head, died.
I can’t wear the guard during the day because it gives me a speech impediment, and if I forget to take it out when clients call, they’ll think they’re talking to Elmer Fudd, which might be vewy, vewy bad for business.
I Googled “daytime teeth grinding” to see if there were any solutions. I discovered, first of all, that there is a medical name for teeth grinding. It’s called Bruxism, after Leon Brux, a London accountant who woke up one morning in 1837 with his mouth full of a powdery substance and then realized all his teeth were gone.** (Being an Englishman, his smile looked better without the teeth.) This also evidently makes me a Bruxist, even though I think of myself as being pretty apolitical.
I did find two recommendations for my daytime grinding.
Now my only problem is, when I chew gum, my dog thinks I’m eating something and stares at me with his begging eyes.
Between the grinding and the chewing and the begging, it’s becoming hard to get any work done.
See you soon.
*Star Trek reference. If you don’t get it, congratulations; you’re not a geek.
**It’s actually from a Greek word meaning “gnashing the teeth,” which may be true, but not funny.