How do you grind? PTSD and dental issues

I lost a little friend this weekend. I was sad and embarrassed at the same time. My little friend has been with me since I can remember. We have enjoyed good food together, we have smiled together, shared good and bad times together. It’s just that he didn’t like it when I was stressed because unwittingly I had abused him, he struggled not only to be happy but also to survive. He gave up the fight and decided he didn’t want to be part of my life any more.

RIP Mr Tooth, You will be missed.

When people hear that someone has PTSD they think of war veterans but domestic violence, the raped, the abused, the sexually assaulted often suffer from PTSD. I have discussed this in the past, the startle effect, where we jump when someone comes to us quickly. The way the mind crashes and goes blank when we are stressed. There are many different sides to PTSD but one that a lot of people don’t consider is bruxism and teeth clenching. Even grinding the teeth at night. Sometimes I used to wake up, feeling, hearing the grinding and for some strange reason it felt comforting!

Before I understood I had PTSD, the dentist terrified me me when I sat in his chair. A wave of terror would inexplicably just wash over me. I would start to cry, trying to say I was sorry to the dentist for crying and causing a scene, that I didn’t know why I felt so completely terrified. I didn’t understand it but my dentist always made me feel at ease after a few minutes while I sat there screaming inside at myself to “Stop being pathetic!” and “Get a grip woman!”

Stop a mintue and smile

I have only ever had one filling my entire life and that was when I was pregnant. My teeth are strong, seriously strong! I have read that when someone grinds their teeth and their teeth are soft they will be ground down, almost flat. They can even be ground to the root! Ouch! Not in my case I ground, my teeth stayed strong like oak trees. Sad thing is though is that “Somethings gotta give!” When you grind something strong the roots start to sway, like an oak tree in a storm. It doesn’t break apart, it uproots and… Timber! It falls over!

I loved my little oak tree, my tooth. It had been with me through everything! I was determined he wasn’t leaving me now. My dental hygiene routine is crazy too. I use a waterpik, floss, interdental brushes, excellent toothpaste with baking soda. I use a hydrogen peroxide mouthwash. I brush after each meal and carry those little disposable toothbrushes if we go out. I’m pretty fanatical about it, so when my little friend started his battle to leave and became loose I made him stick! I used temporary filling to get him to stand tall and straight when he loosened and waivered. I spoke with a slight lisp which was infuriatingly annoying!I also use a mouthguard at night, which let me tell you is completely sexy, looking like a boxer at night.

Sadly last evening, as I washed dishes he gave up, falling out… Timberrr! And that darn tooth fairy gives up on us when we are adults too. It’s not like I was going to wake up and find something wonderful under my pillow…

I want you to know that if you are having dental problems you are NOT alone. It happens to us who have PTSD.

Once in a dentists chair you could feel:


Have flashbacks to a traumatic event

Feel paralyzed

For this you could take along:

Your Ipod with something soothing on it, like waves on a beach…

A cuddly stuffed toy animal.

Try deep breathing, meditation.

Tell your dentist in advance that you are scared, that you have PTSD. The dentist will/should understand and make the treatments you need a lot easier for you by explaining what he is doing. Agree upon a signal you can give to show that you need a break or it’s becoming too much for you. This will all give you a sense of empowerment while you are having the treatments done and know you are taking back your own power to stay healthy!

This morning I woke and all the pain was gone… Along with my little tooth friend.

Remember this; It is the beauty inside yourself that matters. If someone mocks you, laughs at you because you have a tooth missing until your next dental visit, know they are not worthy of being your friend. That you are special, PTSD made you so! You are here and you survived!

You are beautiful, you are special because of the light that shines within you! So join us and smile a toothless smile because you are powerful and awesome!

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