I grind my teeth.
I inherited this trait from my Pop, who ground his teeth so hard I could the squeaking in my bedroom.
My former dentist told me about this unconscious behavior many many years ago and said I needed to wear a night guard. He made me watch a short video that vividly illustrated the dire consequences if I didn't - raggedy-ass teeth in bleeding gums, mostly. I've been wearing a guard ever since, long enough that I feel weird when I don't wear it.
At any rate, wearing the night guard has protected my teeth lo these many years, but it doesn't stop the grinding. And, nature being what it is, I finally ground my back molar into submission and it gave up any pretense of fighting back.
A year ago my periodontist did a bone graft under the tooth to try and save it. It worked, until now. I knew something was up when my gum started feeling tender and sore and mentioned this to my regular dentist at my regular cleaning.
Alas. Back to the periodontist. He examined it and we decided that extraction was the better part of valor.
He pulled my poor old molar yesterday. He numbed me up quite well, so I didn't feel any pain during the extraction, the cleaning of the socket (apparently there was much infection), the second bone graft, and the suturing. I felt lots of pressure and pulling and sewing and such, however.
It's such a strange feeling. Here's this guy wielding tools of destruction IN MY MOUTH and I can sort of tell what's going on but the only pain I feel occurs when the nurse assistant presses one of the aforementioned tools of destruction against the un-anesthetized side of my lip for a nanosecond.
The most fun was when I rinsed out my mouth at the end of the surgery. The side of my face was so numb that I did several spit takes as I rinsed. Huzzah!
Then we compared notes on bands we have seen and loved. I made the doctor jealous when I told him that I saw Pink Floyd on the Dark Side of the Moon tour back in the olden days.
I was able to drive to the pharmacy - in the pouring rain, no less - to fill my scripts and then drive home without any problems except for numbness and the inability to speak clearly. It didn't last. Once the Novocaine wore off life was not fun, even with prescribed non-narcotic painkillers.
Today is better, but my face is lumpy and sore. (I swear I am not sticking my tongue into my cheek.)