They say that people of high intelligence are prone to grinding their teeth in their sleep. I don’t know who “they” are, but I hope “they” are right, because apparently I grind my teeth like craaaazy. Last time I went to the dentist, they told me that my teeth look like they belong in the mouth of a 40 year old. It shook me up pretty hard. I mean, I’d ground the tops off my teeth! That’s messed up! I immediately went out and bought myself a mouth guard to wear at night.
Aaaaand then I put it on my bedside table, where it sat there. For months. I moved it across the country, where it sat on my bedside table in Wichita. I moved it across the country again, where it has sat on my bedside table here in Saratoga. Periodically I would look at it, take it out of its case, read the directions on how to mold it, but it always went back in its case. I just couldn’t bring myself to actually use it. It’s so…ugly and blue and plastic.
But then last week, I had a dream in which all my teeth fell out. And even though I know that dreaming that my teeth falling out is no indication that they actually are, (I know, I checked that they were all there when I woke up,) for some reason this was the ass-kicking I needed to start wearing the damn thing. So a couple days ago, I finally made myself start wearing it to bed.
And really? Not as bad as I was afraid. I thought it would be uncomfortable, that it would keep me from sleeping, but not so. It’s surprisingly comfortable, and it took me no longer than my usual fifteen minutes to fall asleep. I suspect that I may drool a little more than usual, but that hurts no one but Kyle’s shoulder.
No, the trouble I’ve been having is that apparently my subconscious wants nothing to do with the thing. The first night I wore it, I woke up to discover that not only had I removed it, but I’d placed it back in its case. (At least unconscious me is responsible.) The next night, unconscious me decided that I could take it out as long as I held on to. I woke up clutching it in my hand. Last night, I dreamed I was eating rope licorice and woke up masticating that mouth guard like it was gas station beef jerky. Every night I can’t wait to see what ridiculous thing my unconscious self will do next.
There is another problem I have with my mouth guard, this one a little less hilarious and a little more suck. At the end of every day, Kyle and I love to jump into bed, watch a little tv, talk, and snuggle under a pile of blankets. That time is very special to us. Unfortunately, with my mouth guard in, its very hard to talk around, and I feel ridiculously self-conscious, even around Kyle. (For the first couple of nights, I wouldn’t put it in until the lights went out, and I made sure to place my head in a spot that was out of Kyle’s line of vision.) A time that is meant to be extremely intimate and special began to feel awkward and uncomfortable. And that sucks.
However, it sucks less than grinding my teeth down to nubs. And luckily, I have a very sweet, very understanding husband who has helped make me feel more comfortable with myself and my mouth. (Once he stopped calling me Hockey Face.) It’s kind-of one of the wonderful things about being married. My mouth guard is not remotely sexy; in fact, it’s pretty much the opposite. But Kyle and I have vowed to stand by each other through sickness, health, head colds, plaid flannel pajamas and ugly-ass mouth guards. So I can put on my fleece pajamas, pop in my mouth guard, and slobber on Kyle’s shoulder, because when I wake up in the morning, he still loves me, crusty eyes and all.
And that’s why marriage kicks ass.