by Karla ° Wednesday, January 16, 2008
I finally couldn’t stand the random, yet fleeting knife-like pain in my tooth, so I made a pleading call to my dentist’s office to see if they could see me on short notice.

I really dislike going to the dentist. It’s been over a year since I’ve been; tsk! tsk!, I know, but I have this issue with personal space, and lying still with a gaping mouth while a stranger hovers less than two millimetres from my pores and inspects my teeth with a white, latex-covered finger is not exactly my idea of a good time. That, and I’m sort of guilty about not flossing as much as I should.

But this achy tooth has been bugging me since mid-December, sometime after the incident when I tried to tend to Samson’s paw and his great big giant dog head knocked me upside the face, causing my bottom teeth to smash up against my top teeth, and also, a small yellow bruise to form next to my right eye. And because Samson’s head is made of one part crazy, one part lead, and one part hardened cement, I had Mark inspect my mouth for a chipped tooth. Since he didn't see any missing teeth, I just figured it was a bit sensitive, or whatever, and bought some sensodyne. This seemed to work for a couple of weeks, but all of a sudden, out of nowhere, the throbbing came back and it kept getting worse.

After some poking, prodding, tapping and x-rays, the dentist, much to my surprise, said that I have a serious issue with grinding my teeth?


“Your teeth, you’re wearing them down from grinding them so much. Probably in your sleep.”

He then proceeded to point out the developed muscles along my jawline, and the uncharacteristic front and back movement that my jaw has been making, slowly wearing down my teeth. And then, when I felt the burn of tears welling from deep in the back of my eyes, he noted the tension in my temples, and gently urged me to find a means to cope with whatever is bothering me.

I'm speechless.

I am speechless, because all of these feelings of unsettledness that have been growing and festering, these feelings that I have been fighting to cope with and keep buried, these feelings that I never believed were serious enough to medicate myself over, these feelings that I wholeheartedly believed would go away once I found the energy to begin running again, because god, being tired all the time cannot possibly last forever, have given up on me and found their own method of release while my conscious mind sleeps.

This is the part where I take a deep breath and realize that maybe I'm really not OK.


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You are in my thoughts. I don't know what else to say. But you're in my thoughts.
Posted by Blogger Pink Shoes :  January 16, 2008

Get the help you need Karla. We will be here supporting you. I'll be thinking of you.
Posted by Blogger Christy :  January 16, 2008

I don't know what to say, just maybe it's okay to not be okay - and if your body has been helping you process stuff, thank it and take care of it - and all of you.
Posted by Blogger Karen :  January 16, 2008

I haven't been to the dentist for awhile either, but I have noticed that I seem to be clenching my jaw alot lately. And furrowing my brow. I've wondered the same thing as you - that perhaps there's something that the muscles in my face are trying to tell me.

It's brave of you to admit this on your blog, Karla. I hope that you find a way to deal with what's on your heart. You've been through alot in the last few years - maybe it's time to find a healthy release valve.
Posted by Blogger Heather :  January 16, 2008

Of course if you're heart is telling you that you need to get some help, then you should do it - it's the most important thing for you and your whole family.

Just keep in mind that you may have been grinding your teeth for a long time and no one ever pointed it out. I clench my teeth in my sleep, too, and a dentist pointed it out to me in university. Apparently I do it all the time, but even more so when I'm stressed (when I sometimes find myself doing it when awake). He gave me a mouth guard to wear, but I hate it, so I guess I'll keep wearing my teeth down until I develop other symptoms that force me to deal with it. :P

Good luck, Karla.
Posted by Anonymous Fawn :  January 16, 2008

I love you baby!

Love Mark
Posted by Anonymous Anonymous :  January 16, 2008

I can't say I've been there bc I don't know where you are but I can say I've said the things you've said. Go see a Dr, help yourself, you & your family DESERVE all the happiness life offers.
Posted by Anonymous JL :  January 16, 2008

Oh, sweetie.

I am glad that you have recognized that maybe you are not OK (If that is the case).

I'm praying that you feel better, and use whatever means necessary to get there :)
Posted by Blogger Angella :  January 16, 2008

Woah, I totally grind my teeth too. Do you think it really is a sign of something more serious, or perhaps a reaction to stress and exhaustion?


First off, grinding your teeth is fairly common; so I don't think it's a major signal that you're crazy or anything. I also think it's really brave of you to talk about stuff like this on your blog and your so honest and eloquent in how you write everything. I think it's totally fine and so strong of you to admit to yourself that you may not be o.k. It's so hard to look upon yourself, and say I need some outside help here. I'm on anti-depressants and I've seen therapists before and I haven't been through one ounce of what you have. I think everyone would agree that you've had some really rough times and you have plenty of reasons to say "I'm not o.k." Let that husband and sweet boy of yours carry you through. Your in my thoughts often.


Please go to and take time to listen to her messages. Your healing will start then Karla.

Stay blessed,

Agi from Amsterdam
Posted by Anonymous Agi from Amsterdam :  January 16, 2008

It's scary when you think you are okay and then you realize that maybe you're not. When you first lose a child you expect to be all messed up, but then after a while you think that you should be better.

If you can't tell, I've been there. More than a year after my son passed away I realized that I was severly depressed and had to do something about it. I was sitting in the doctor's office and read a poster about depression and thought "Wow! I have 7 of the 9 symptoms. Maybe something's wrong with me."

It's scary. I know. But we are all here to listen and hold you up if and when you need it.

Posted by Blogger Hedda :  January 16, 2008

While it's certainly possible you would benefit from professional help (and who wouldn't?) plenty of people who are really just fine grind their teeth. That said, therapy is awesome. If you find the right therapist.

Sorry you got a proselytizing comment!
Posted by Blogger Eva :  January 16, 2008

I agree with the person who said that it's okay to not be okay. It must be hard to find time to take care of yourself when you're a mom. You'll be fine!
Posted by Blogger H :  January 16, 2008

Honey, don't you worry. Your dentist failed to tell you the name of the condition, bruxism, or grinding of the teeth. It is very common, and most people get a night guard to sleep with which prevents further damage (you can get a cheap hockey one from most pharmacies). It is often caused by everyday stresses both great and small. Me included - and I don't have any great stresses in my life. Sit back, and don't think too much more about it, because you're just fine.
Posted by Anonymous Anonymous :  January 16, 2008

While I totally agree that teeth grinding is not a complete indicator of needing some "help" I do believe that when we begin to wonder often if we need help, we usually do.

I've been reading your blog a long time. You remind me a bit of a younger me. I used to worry my silly over my husband and children. I tried so very hard to be ok even when there was a little voice in my head telling me that I really wasn't. The more that voice tried to get me to hear it the more effort I put in on silencing it or making up reasons why I was not really in need of someone to talk to. I mean I had a good relationship with my hubby, good relationships with my kids, I had a nice home, some good friends. What could possibly be wrong?

My best friend convinced me (after I had been sharing with her some of the same feelings you've been having & sharing here)that making an appointment and going to see a therapist for at least one month could help most definitely could not hurt me. So I did. My one month turned into quite a few more but with each visit I found myself feeling more and more like me. I found myself letting go of the issues that bothered me but I kept them buried. Even from myself.

It was a true blessing that my friend helped me do what needed to be done for myself and my family.

So in light of my experience I say to...go and talk to someone. Do it for yourself because you deserve it. You may find that you need an antidepressant but you also may find that just finding out what is gnawing at your mind and discussing it will be sufficient to help you overcome these feelings.

I'll be thinking of you and sending lots of prayers and positive thoughts your way.

Posted by Blogger Poppy :  January 17, 2008

all i can give you right now is a (hug).
it sounds almost rude seeing that i only "know" you though your blog. but i have been worried about youi really like what karen said. "its ok not to be ok"
getting some help, will be hard. i have always found that the first few appt truly suck... it is like cleaing raw wounds...but then it start to get easier.
you will be in my prayers.
above all karla, remember though you may sometimes feel alone, you are NOT.
Posted by Anonymous uumomma :  January 17, 2008

Hey Chiquits,

This same scenario happened to me a few years ago. I'm a worrier by nature and that may have something to do with it, but it may also just be that you grind your teeth, period. As some commenters above have said, it's common.

The dentist made a mold and fitted me with a soft bite plate I wear when I'm a bit stressed and start grinding again - but that doesn't happen often anymore. It may be a phase. Just something to try before you let anyone tell you what you need.

That being said, I'm all for talking to someone about how you feel. It always helps.

Love ya.
Posted by Blogger Jen & Co. :  January 17, 2008


I'm a dental hygienist and as several other posters pointed out, grinding or clenching of the teeth is just the way some people deal with everyday stresses.....some bite their nails, some twirl their hair and some, like you and I, grind their teeth. Your dentist can make you a hard plastic night guard to wear when you sleep, then you are grinding on plastic rather than tooth structure. It takes a little getting used to but now can't get to sleep without mine!
Posted by Anonymous leslie :  January 17, 2008

Hi Karla; mind if I ask Leslie a question?

Leslie, my 7-year-old daughter grinds her teeth in her sleep? What stress could she be dealing with? Her dentist says she'll probably grow out of it, but could this be a sign of something serious, some sort of trauma she's experiencing? I'm seriously concerned.

Hope you come back and see this.
Posted by Blogger Queeny :  January 17, 2008


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