Fluxing and Bruxing
[You may not have noticed but I’ve changed my little bio on here because my mental health journey is so intrinsically linked to my dental health journey that I felt it needed its own mention.]
Since I last updated my blog about my teeth and their myriad of problems, I’ve been to see an orthodontist twice, and my regular dentist twice, and there has been a roller-coaster of emotions in between.
At my first ortho appointment everything went really well and despite me happening to mention that I clench my teeth at night, he seemed intent on moving forward with treatment and that I was a good candidate with excellent dental and periodontal health. At my second appointment, I stressed again that I must be able to wear mouth guards during my treatment as the anxiety over cracking teeth and the pain from the clenching is unbearable without. He told me in no uncertain terms that I would not be able to wear one, so I then detailed the pain I was in and informed him that perhaps orthodontic treatment might not be suitable for me right now.
It was at that point that he took a look at the digital x-rays and told me that it was a distinct possibility that both of my root canalled teeth were re-infected and might need re-treatment. Cue another wasted day of incessant crying and the familiar shame cycle.
To go back to the beginning for a second, I’ve been suffering from night time bruxism (the clenching or grinding of the teeth) since last year. For a few months I was in constant agony, but with my new dentist making me a night guard and my GP putting me on Amitriptyline, the pain has been much more manageable. Manageable, but still ever present. It’s been about eight months since I’ve been able to enjoy a meal properly or sleep without sedation and it’s been erosive.
When I went to see my dentist this morning he did another round of x-rays (I think that makes 5 or 6 so far this year) and completely contradicted what the ortho had said, saying that it would be ludicrously unlucky to get two re-infections on two teeth that were root canalled at different times, by different people.
At one point yesterday I was actually starting to feel some slight relief at the prospect of root canal re-treatments. It felt as though I had some concrete problems with concrete solutions and that there might be an end to my pain. Today, I feel like I’m back to square one, completely frustrated and horribly confused as to what my problem might be, with no solution or end on the horizon.
If my gut feeling is correct then I suspect I might have Sprained Tooth Syndrome (STS) in both root filled teeth that’s been exacerbated by my bruxism and the single-side chewing since my last endodontic surgery. If that’s true then the problems are almost certainly down to the malocclusion (wonky bite) and the only viable solution is braces. But if the orthodontist won’t treat me while I’m in pain then I am at something of an impasse and am no closer to being pain-free.
Excuse me while I scream into a pillow for an hour.
To say this last couple of weeks have been frustrating is like saying the Kardashians are sort of narcissistic. An understatement of gargantuan proportions. I wish I was one of those people who could find the rainbow in every storm, but as someone who already has depression and crippling self esteem issues, the chronic pain on top is certainly dimming my motherfucking sparkle, but I refuse to give up the fight just yet. Referrals to maxillofacial and occlusal specialists are in my future so maybe there will finally be a bright side. Since I started fretting about losing teeth before Christmas, not a single one has shown any signs of giving up either. Seems like my teeth are stubborn bastards, like me.
Until next time, you are seen, you are loved and you absolutely deserve to take up your space on this floating lump of space rock. Stay strong.