That one dream about teeth

Have you ever had that one dream about teeth? The one where your teeth start falling out and you can do nothing to stop it? I understand it's pretty common and it's about control. What a surprise. I have that dream now and then. Actually, it's kind of an episode in other dreams I have. Let's not analyze. My dreams revolve around a certain set of themes.

Speaking of dreams, I grind my teeth when I sleep. For the last few years, I have not been chewing on the right side of my mouth. I went through all the trouble of getting a gold crown (my gold gansta tooth...don't worry, it was in the back but I loved to show it off now and then), then I commenced to grind right through that sucker. It has been sensitive to pressure and temperature so long, I don't remember what it was like before.

So when I went into the dentists office recently, I said "I'm done". It was annoying. It never felt right and I wanted it fixed (preferably in white enamel). So last Friday, we took off the old crown (thank gawd for gas, especially at the moment when the doctor said "I am taking off the old crown and you may hear some crunching"). Um, yeah. I was in my happy place breathing deeply and thinking about the Grateful Dead. I was at that last show in Irvine Meadows with all the police lights. Anyhoo...

 They put on a temporary. Much joking commenced about the small size of the little white piece of plastic they put in my mouth Friday to, like, cover up the sensitive nerve stuff on my tooth. My bite immediately felt better. I could chew on the right side. Whee! And it was all great until...

Monday afternoon I ate tuna salad. I know. What was I thinking? Do rhetorical questions deserve a question mark? They don't seem to do the heavy lifting that normal questions do. I started to crunch into something and thought "why does this tuna have bones?" You know why? Because it was my plastic crown. Of the pieces I felt swimming around in my mouth, I retrieved two. Others unaccounted for. And I had almost 2 weeks to wait for my new crown to come in (which, unfortunately or fortunately, as the case may be, is again gold).

Monday, back at the dentist office, another new temporary. Extra cement. No gas this drills, sanders, whatever they call that grindy stuff. Optimistic. Will try to only chew on the left side again. 2 hours later, I was eating rice crackers and not chewing on the right side, I swear. Then my crown was gone. I have to find a little humor in the fact that it got chewed up with rice crackers. Who would have known the difference?

I've decided to tough it out. Go without a temp. Try to ignore the urge for my tongue to find that jagged, amputated tooth edge. The pain is only dull. The kind of pain where you think" "should I take an Advil?" and then you notice that you have had a headache all day.

And it seems entirely likely that you are going to have that dream about the teeth again.

Comments (20)

  1. Kevin Daly says:

    I thought I was weird (er, weirder) having that dream: I know I’m sooooo relieved (and surprised even) to wake up and find the gap isn’t really there.

    Many of my other dreams on the other hand to run to the Kafkaesque. I should probably seek help.

    But I won’t.

  2. says:

    Those temp’s never stay in. Sometimes, real crowns don’t want to either. I have a friend who got tired of paying dentist prices to get his supposedly permanent crown glued back on. Now about ever six months he glues it back on with super glue. It’s kind of icky, but it sure is cheap. I’m just waiting for him to glue his jaw shut.

  3. Steve Boyko says:

    I have that dream about once a month.

    Having been through braces, and about to go through them again, I sympathize with your repeated dental work.

  4. Hi Heather – I’m David Birnbaum (I was employee #2 at ERE with David Manaster – and I worked for Jobster for a bit – I don’t think we ever met, but I’ve had your blog on my reader forever)

    After reading this post, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give you a heads up on the technology that I’ve built my new dental lab business around – we use it to make ‘Same Visit’ crowns – no temps at all! – the new tooth is designed in 3D software and is miled out of a ceramic block on the spot in about 15 minutes

    So obviously, it pains me to hear a story like yours – it’s 2008 – you shouldn’t have to wait two weeks (or more) and have to endure this kind of pain  and aggravation

    Most dentists, don’t use this tech yet, but it’s been out for several years and it is gaining steam – it’s called CEREC and you can learn more about it at

    (there is also a directory of dentists that offer CEREC technology in their office) – I’m sure you like your dentist but I’m sure there are some docs in your neck of the woods who have the machine.

    Hope this new info doesn’t make your situation even more annoying

  5. Jeff Lyttle says:

    I grind my teeth as well and several years ago I got a night guard.  Now I grind througha piece of plastic I take out in the morning.  The nice part is if I grind too much into the plastic, they can just add more plastic.  A lot better than having my teeth worked on.

  6. HeatherLeigh says:

    Kevin – I got a book on dream interpretation once and the one on teeth seems it is very common. The mind does crazy things. You don’t need help fpr weird dreams. It’s weird reality that’s the problem 🙂

    kettch – hmmm, I really hope I don’t have to go that far. I won’t be good at that gluing stuff. I gag when I brush my teeth, so the glue in my mouth would really freak me out.

  7. Parul says:

    I was sitting here cringing at the description of how temporary the temps are! I just had a root canal and am supposed to go back for a crown, dont’ think i am going 🙂  

  8. tod says:

    Can’t say I’ve ever had that dream…maybe I’m not quite the control freak you profess to be. Not that there’s anything wrong with that….

    I’ve had a crown on my right-front tooth since elementary school, so I feel your pain.  Personally, I’d go back to the dentist to get the temporary back on (again), but then I can be a wuss when it comes to sensitive teeth stuff. Ugh! Best of luck and I hope it works out soon!

  9. Wine-Oh says:

    I just had my teeth whitened by my dentist last week and holy $%*& it hurt and still does. Makes your teeth very sensitive. They are about 3-4 shades lighter and I have to wear trays with gel 1-2 hours a day. The good out weighs the bad in this case and I can deal with the minor discomfort.

  10. grey_matt says:

    Heather, Be grateful your crown is at the back. Mine is one of the front two; I dived into the shallow end of a swimming pool aged 12. When mine drops out kids run away!

  11. Misty Sutton says:

    Heather- love your blog. I have the teeth dream all the time (and love the Dead, and am a recruiter). Looks like we have a lot in common. Keep doing what you’re doing!

  12. HeatherLeigh says:

    Steve Boyko – thanks. I usually don’t require much dental work (I’m a very good brusher) so that is part of the reason this is bugging me.

    David Birnbaum – I won’t say it makes it more annoying but hopefully that technology will become more commonly used.

    Jeff Lyttle – I actually have one of those but I find that sleeping with my mouth open, in addition to officially making me a "mouth breather", makes it really hard to fall asleep. Sometimes the jaw pain is enough to get me to wear it.

    Parul – you may have better results. My crown was super small (which is why they keep casting it in gold). I’ll think good thoughts for you 😉

    tod – I don’t think I am a control freak. It’s not about controlling others. It’s just that I don’t like when I don’t have control over myself (kind of why flying bugs me). You know that stuff that happens in your childhood impacts this kind of thing. All the moves me made certainly contributed to a feeling of not having control.

    Wine-Oh, I do the trays at home. It does make my teeth sensitive for a while. I don’t use the gel on the back teeth bc that is where my problem mainly is. I agree that it’s totally worth it. Have you tried a toothpaste for sensitive teeth? You can even get one by prescription.

    grey_matt – ugggh. OK, I’ll be thankful. I had 2 weird teeth moments today. I heard someone bite into a lifesaver and almost jumped out of my skin. And I had a chicken sandwich and there was a small bone in it and I just about lost it; thought it was my tooth.

    Misty Sutton – thanks!

  13. some1'saunt says:

    OMG…. I had a crown prep a week ago too. Right side too!  I am replacing a big ole filling with a pretty new crown.  My temp is still on but my jaw is sore!  I’m thinking the temp isn’t a perfect fit and it is throwing off my bite! Hoping I don’t need a root canal :(.  I feel your pain!

  14. wine-oh says:

    They gave me sensitizing gel to use in the trays. It works. The first night after the initial in office visit was the worst. But now I am fine…

  15. tod says:

    Oh, I didn’t mean controlling others. I was making fun of how you make fun of yourself a lot of the time. Should have put in the obligatory smiley face.  🙂

  16. HeatherLeigh says:

    Auntie – I have the sore jaw and the headache. OK, now I am actually worried that when I go running, the increase in blood pressure is going to make it worse. Yikes! Well, when I get back from the run, I’ll have some wine (gee, I wonder if you are doing that tonight?). I’m a little disappointed that I couldn’t get the white this time…again. The return of my mini grillz. Or is it "grill?" Bow wow wow, yipee yo yipee yay.

    Wine-oh, ahh, I get it. My gel is whitening.

    tod – I figured you didn’t mean that. When I think of "control freak", I think of bossy people. And really, I am not (unless someone is in my kitchen). Laid-back, I am most certainly not. Interesting, maybe.

  17. some1'saunt says:

    Yes the running might make it worse!  And yes I will be sipping some wine tonight!  Makes the Ibuprofen kick in much quicker!

  18. HeatherLeigh says:

    it actually didn’t. Just got back and it was fine. I’m glad. Perhaps it was lack of oxygen to the brain that dulled my pain receptors. Haha.

    Here comes the wine!

  19. mrscrooge says:

    I didn’t even know I was grinding my teeth till someone told me. Its loud apparently. So I got a guard but I wasn’t wearing it till recently when a dr said I might be really damaging my teeth (it hurts a wee bit sometimes). The dr was like, "Oh you work at Microsoft? A lot of my Microsoft patients grind their teeth.."

  20. HeatherLeigh says:

    Ah man! I need to wear my mouth guard but the dentists says it doens’t work well with gold crowns. I’m not sure why. I would rather have a retainer. Geez.

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