This is the year that I am actually doing something to address my bruxism, which is a wonderful word for tooth grinding.
Some background, first. When I was 25, my dentist noted that my molars were worn down to levels typically seen in 40 year old people. And when you’re 25, 40 is REALLY OLD. Aack! I had the teeth of the elderly! And there was nothing I could do to stop it on my own. It was like a Cathy cartoon. This nightly grinding is likely something that I have always done, and would not be easy to stop, since it’s all the domain of the unconscious and subconscious mind. Believe me, I tried. Even with lucid dreaming. The dentist suggested that I wear a hard plastic bite guard every night which would protect my tooth surfaces, and possibly reduce the jaw clenching. The device was custom-made, several hundred dollars, not covered by insurance and not the least bit sheckshy to wear. But I got used to it, and wore the thing religiously over my top teeth at night for 10 years, when I required a new one, since the original was nearly worn through. As he crafted a new one, my dentist said “Better to wear through the plastic than your teeth.”
All through these years, I kept wondering why I couldn’t teach my unconscious mind to stop clenching. Now that I’m actually 40, (surprisingly not elderly at all) my tooth surfaces may have been preserved, but could there be long term gum and jaw damage that has built up anyway due to the nightly clenching? The Internet turned out to have exactly one product that seemed promising in addressing the underlying issues: a biofeedback device.
I considered buying this biofeedback headband two years ago, but the website that sells it didn’t exactly inspire my confidence. And there weren’t very many independent reviews of the product, so I waited. And waited. Eventually the company came up with an offer that seemed reasonable: $50/month to rent the device. If I decided it was garbage, I wouldn’t be out too much money.
The device arrived a couple of days ago.