A Less Perfect Jaw

I went to the dentist today and it sucked.

All of the normal parts -- the cleaning, the poking, the polishing -- were delightful. My hygienist was both careful and obsessively thorough. I even got to wiggle into a cool wrap-around machine that made a 3D model of my skull. At the end, after a bit of cheerful examinations, Dentist wandered off to take a closer look at the jaw part of my 3D head bones.

He returned. He wanted to look at the groovy 3D imaging stuff together. The good news? I'm growing tusks!

I should have realized things were uncool when dentist didn't laugh when I pointed out my pre-tusks.

Unfortunately, I came to find that the awesomeness of my tusks-to-be is counterbalanced by my jaw being super pissed about something. I started hearing things like "definitely some trauma", "susceptible to breakage", and "bone-on-bone contact" and I clued in that we weren't in a very funny place anymore.

About 15 years ago, for no particular reason, I awoke in my dorm room and it took about 5 unsettling minutes to get my jaw to open a shut like jaws do. Present day, it occasionally "acts up" but usually works kinda normal with a bit of clicking. Dentist thinks this may be somehow related to (i.e. the misalignment is causing) some seriously scrawny bone mass in the top connection of my lower jaw.

To preserve my dream of becoming a famous boxer, I'm not telling which side is thin.

After a couple minutes of describing my screwed up jaw to me, we got to the part where he told me how bad of a problem it is and what we can do about it. I didn't learn anything from that part. He said something about it only being awful when I got to be 75 years old vs an unpleasant 6 month long alignment therapy right now.

The surreal part was, I could tell he was describing my my outlook to me in exactly the same way I give help/support/advice to customers that use the software I make. Describe all the options and schools of thought and let the person on the receiving end come to their own conclusions. Useless. I came away with no deeper understanding about my situation. I'm going to have to go back in for another conversation to educate myself.

What I do know is that the, "When you're 75 your jaw will hurt, but your knees will probably hurt too. Along with any number of other things." Sounds like a line of reasoning that would not impress 75 year old me. I expect dealing with knee pain is a lot more manageable if you can still enjoy food.

When I showed up at work, I naturally tried to score some sympathy with my office mate. Not a well-thought-out plan. My office mate is a recently retired professor midway through his 6th decade. His response?

"So you found out you're not as perfect as you thought you were?"

Fair enough, Dan. Fair enough.


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