Thursday, October 25, 2007

Diary of a TMJ Sufferer Part 1

Where do I begin? To tell the story of how painful life can be? The bittersweet story of a young lass named me?

Ok, enough of the sappy love song parody.

Our story begins with our young heroine {moi} age 12ish. Maybe 14ish. I started to notice some odd clicking & clacking & rattling going on in my jaw. It became more noticeable while chewing. This was not conducive to my lifestyle as I was sneaking smokes at the time & chewing a lot of gum to mask the smell from my non-smoking parents. Cuz we all know that works, right? Sure it does.

Things started to get worse. Pain started. Sometimes my jaw would lock up & I’d have a bitch of a time getting it going again. My parents asked the dentist. We were told to see an orthodontist. Thus began a 21 year journey into madness that continues to this day.

Age 16 ~ My consult with the orthodontist went well. He was extremely confident that he knew exactly what was going on & how to fix it. He spent a lot of time grabbing my chin & reefing my jaw around until it “fit right”, or some other techno-babble that I just couldn't comprehend.

His diagnosis ~ braces. Absolutely, no question. His reasoning? My teeth had grown in on a slant…they appeared straight in relation to each other, but grew in at an angle. Does that make sense? Maybe. It sounded plausible at the time. Frankly boys & girls, we were grasping at straws. The noise & pain were getting worse & this man said he could help so we believed him.

3 years of braces. 3 years of trying not to smile open-lipped during photos. 3 years of sore teeth, sore jaw, sore head. 3 years of living off chicken broth, pancakes & bananas for 2 weeks a month. I was so skinny!

3 years & 2 teeth extracted later, the braces came off. I was already in university. I was ecstatic. My teeth really didn’t look any different ~ as I said, they were always straight ~ but I was hopeful that things would be better.

They weren’t.

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