Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Gnashing of Teeth

I got my teeth cleaned last week, and my regular dental hygienist, Pat, asked me how my teeth-guard is working for me. This is the same teeth-guard whose use I ranked #8 on my list of life goals, a couple weeks ago.

I told Pat that after I decided to make an effort to wear it more, I realized I don't need it anymore: I no longer wake up at night with my jaw clenched so tight I'm afraid I'll break my teeth.

"Maybe that's because you quit your job," Pat said. "Studies show that stress is a major factor in teeth grinding."

That makes perfect sense.
An article from the Middletown Bible Church notes that the New Testament uses the phrase "weeping [or wailing] and gnashing of teeth" seven times, and that the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament "says that the root of this term was used 'of the cry of pain of a stag mortally wounded by snake-bite.' "

This gnashing often takes place when one is "cast out into the outer darkness." I think I know the place.

But I didn't quit my geography work because it was stressful.
I quit because I was tired of writing within the lines, and I quit because I could.
The [relative] psychological well being I experience as an American citizen is one of the fruits of prosperity and privilege that I wish everyone could have. I remember a man from Ethiopia who told me that what he liked best about living in the states was that he wasn't afraid all the time.
What he liked least was how lonely it is here.


Rudyinparis said...

I've had a number of dental issues in the past few years myself. Instead of teeth grinding, though, I'm admonished for being a mouth breather. Seriously. The dentist, every appointment, reminds me that I'm a mouth breather. Talk about adding insult to injury. Apparently it's bad for the gums.


Oh, and no, I don't know The Well-Dressed Librarian, I'm just a secret admirer. He is so very witty. I'm glad he's back--he went offline without notice last year for several months, then reappeared with a new job in another part of the country and sans his prior relationship. So he obviously was going through some changes.

fresca said...

Isn't it awful when we feel persecuted by the dentist?!? I mean, what are you supposed to do about it.
And "mouth breather" isn't even a biblical phrase...

Thanks for the WDL--he's a treat.

momo said...

I used to have TMJ from grinding my teeth in my sleep. I wore a night guard for a few years, but it gave me nightmares. Then I had my bite adjusted (some contact points ground down) and it cleared up the problem. I like the idea of quitting my job, though!