The Adventure of The Dental Mouthpiece

Several years ago, my old dentist pointed out that I had ground my incisors flat. Where most people have nice protruding incisors, mine are even with the height of the rest of the teeth. I had never realized this. What’s worse, no dentist had ever pointed this out before. Years and years of check-ups, and every time the dentist would tell me that I had great teeth and I was taking care of them so well. Suddenly, my incisors are just dulled flat forever and no dentist ever saw this coming?   I asked him how this happened.

The dentist said it was due to my grinding my teeth.  In a bizarrely accusing manner, he asked, “Why are you grinding your teeth?”  In his mind, I must have planned all this in order to annoy him.  Yes, I admit it, every day I take a leisurely stroll down to Silver Lake Park where I take great delight as I merrily grind my teeth for hours on end.  “This will teach that stupid dentist!  I will do whatever I want with my teeth!” I say between protracted sessions of rolling my mollars together.  What a yutz this guy is.

Obviously, I wasn’t aware I was doing it.  It’s probably happening when I sleep.  Ah well, it’s too late to save my teeth now.  They’re ground flat.

Later, I switched to a dental office that wasn’t in a double-wide trailer.  (Don’t ask. It was Melinda’s old dentist.)  Zumbro View Dental is a wonderful dentist’s office, and my dentist Dr. Bhuttar pointed out that I was probably still grinding my teeth and the damage would continue unless I got a mouthpiece to guard against it.  One fitting and $700 later, I have this plastic mold that is custom-fit to my teeth.

Every night, I take it out of my toothbrush drawer, stick it in my pocket, go back to the bedroom to change into pajamas, plop the mouthpiece on over my lower teeth and sleep knowing that my nighttime self is not screwing my mouth up for the rest of my life.  In the morning, I take it off, brush it clean while brushing my teeth, and put it in the drawer.

And some mornings…I wake up to find I forgot to put it in and it’s still in the pocket of my pants.  Sometimes I don’t even realize this until I don the pants again and find the mouthpiece in the pocket.  (I change clothes after work and sometimes I’ve only worn the pants for a few hours, so they can be worn again the next day.)

This happened a few weeks ago.  One day in mid-July, I found the mouth guard in my pocket as I was racing off to go shopping.  Paranoid about hauling around this $700 item, I kept feeling for it to make sure it was in my pocket.  I went shopping at Target, bought mulch at SuperAmerica and loaded it into the back of the Saturn Vue, gassed up at the Sinclair station, went home and unloaded the Vue, hauling mulch out to our landscaped back yard and dumping it, and then turned in for the night.

No mouth guard.  Undoubtedly, it had caught in my keys or some other pocket item and fallen out.  I retraced my steps.  Called SuperAmerica and Sinclair.  Searched the house, the back yard and the landscaped corner, digging through the mulch.  No mouth guard.

The only bright spot is that I have ample money in my dental account to pay for another, but it irks me to do so because of my own stupidity.

Last week, Dr. Bhuttar made a cast of my mouth again.  (You can’t use the old molds, as they deform over time.)  I wrote out another $700 check.  Today, Thursday, August 6th, I went in on my lunch hour to pick it up.  It doesn’t fit as comfortably as the last one, but they’ll adjust it if they need to next week.  I brought it home and set it on the counter.

Melinda and I are Christians, although I think our true faith is in Murphy’s Law.  She pointed out that it is only now that I’ve paid for a new mouth guard and had it manufactured that the old one will turn up.  We laughed.

However, I am sure that’s going to happen sometime.  I’ll be out rotating the wood chips and there it will be on top of the landscaping fabric.  Or it will be found in the lawn when I run over it with the mower.

I brought home my new mouth guard at 1PM.  At 11PM, Melinda entered the office and said that she’d nearly had a heart attack.

She showed me my new case, which I’d left out on the counter.  I smiled, knowing what happened.  She had found it on the counter and thought she had found the old one sitting out in the open.

Then she extended her other hand.  There on her palm, no carry case, a tiny piece of the corner broken off… is my old mouth guard.  Not even half a day after I brought the new one home.

She’d been out watering the lawn.  Seeing the chip, I immediately knew what happened.  “I ran over it with the lawn mower?”

Melinda shook her head.

“Layla was chewing on it!”

That dang dog has been chewing on it like a toy for weeks!  Layla the labradoodle has only been in our home for less than two months, and I’m still too new a dog owner to even jump to that conclusion for a missing item.

FYI: Open air services for the First Church of Murphy’s Law are at 9 on Sundays when it is sunny out.