Currently, I am experiencing difficulty saying words with “s” in them. Repeating my phone number just now (it has a lot of sevens in it) to a customer service agent was difficult. Why? Because today was a big day for me: I started my jaw procedure and along with my new dental appliance, I also now have a lisp.
For the last year, I have been experiencing jaw pain and at its worst, could hardly even open my mouth. At that time, I lost weight as I could only eat liquids, jello, pudding or mashed potatoes…so that was a fun couple of weeks LOL. I tried everything to get it under control before our wedding – chiro, massage, pills – but nothing worked. I saw a line-up of dentists, including: one who suggested to “give it time,” one who was afraid to do anything for fear of it getting worse and one who was located 1.5 hours away and wanted to charge me $10,000 for something that “may work.” Even on our wedding day, I had to take muscle relaxers every two hours because it hurt so much. The pain slowly decreased after our wedding, but it still lingers, especially when I’m stressed or crying (and those two things usually go hand in hand LOL). Certain things aggravate it and I am always worried about when it will worsen again.
Along this whole process, you can believe that I have learned A LOT about jaws. Just letting you know that there is NO SUCH THING as a “Jaw Specialist.” They are all dentists, with some being more knowledgeable about jaws than others (but no specific qualification for treating jaws). Also, there are only two causes of jaw pain. Each dentist I saw asked me first, “was it major stress or a trauma that caused your jaw pain?” Even the GOOGLE stated that those were the only two causes of jaw issue pain (and we all know that Google is basically a doctor when it comes to medical questions!). Too bad I can’t bill certain people for “damages caused because of our wedding”….joking, but not really.
Fast forward a year from when the pain started, and I have finally (hopefully) started the solution today. Over the next couple of weeks, I have to wear something called a “splint” which is basically a piece of expensive plastic in my mouth (similar to a retainer), 24 hours a day, except when eating. This is different from a retainer as it will better relax my muscles, prevent clenching/grinding and most importantly, show how my jaw is moving by the wearing of the plastic. I have to go back for regular visits ($$$$$) and each time, the appliance gets adjusted (ie. little pieces shaved off) to better position my jaw. After the splint stops needing adjustments ($$$$$), the dentist will actually shave off little pieces of my teeth ($$$$$) to mirror the final result of the splint. Then, I will have to wear a night guard ($$$$$). It has been a long, expensive road to get here so I am crossing my fingers that this works.
And speaking of pain, a little something to leave you with from the knowledgeable Bill Nye: