A terrible realisation came upon me this morning. I woke early and lay in bed half asleep. Then it happened - a big fat grindy clench. This was a huge problem for me in the years before my surgery.
This time, I was clenching together my two canine teeth on the right, then grinding them past each another down into my bite.
Before, I was clenching and grinding on my two back molars on the left that touched. My teeth are badly badly worn at the back as a result (and as a result of normal chewing on such badly positioned teeth/jaws).
So this is good and bad. Good because there was no guarantee that my clenching/grinding was due to my bad bite. Apparently studies have shown people with perfect bites grinding their teeth, and bad bites with no such problem. It was having a bad impact on me because of headaches, the tooth wear and having to wear a splint every night to protect my teeth.
However I always felt it was due to the bad bite. I feel this proves it. Now I have a different bad bite and the crazy subconscious part of my brain that wants to get rid of the 'incorrect contact' goes to town when I go to sleep. And it does it in a way that it specific to the bite - clenches down on the 'wrong' bit. Today's was quite a different movement to the old clenching.
Also it is good because this bite with the canines too close is expected to be temporary, so it's not like I need to worry about doing it long enough for the teeth to wear away. And it's good because it does suggest that when the bite is aligned there won't be the stimulus for me to do it.
Bad because it must be really hard on my injured jaw joint and indeed I wake - or more like slightly surface - fairly frequently with pain in it, even though there's no pain before I go to bed, or no similar pain during the day. During the day it's a stabbing, fast, brief pain.
Also, if I'm not meant to chew yet, what will this be doing to my bones etc? Apparently the force that goes into night time clenching far, far exceeds anything that can be done voluntarily during the day. (Although as my surgeon has said a couple of times, he had to detach the muscles to move the jaw, so the muscles very much lack strength to start with.)
Strategy: tonight I start sleeping in the same bed with my husband again (I've been in a different room scared I'll wake him). He is the best one at monitoring my clenching because I am very lucky to catch one. He hears it while I'm asleep. Then I'll get some idea of how much it happens. (Hopefully for me he doesn't sleep too heavily to make him a decent clench policeman!)
Then: muscle relaxants. I can't take the one my surgeon usually gives out because I get these horrible jerky full body muscle spasms. I can talk to my sister in law who's a pharmacist to see if there are alternatives.
Then with this info I can ring the surgeon. I dread doing it becaue I do feel like I've harrassed him a lot. But I may have to.