Me and My Big Mouth

I found out this year that I have lockjaw. It’s also known as TMJ, which stands for You-Don’t-Know-How-to-Handle-Stress-When-You’re-Awake-So-You-Grind-The-Eff-Out-Of-Your-Teeth-In-Your-Sleep.

Or something. Not sure I spelled that right.

Not long after being diagnosed with this at, I came home with a hard plastic mouth guard to cover my bottom teeth. While I was perfectly happy to protect my pearly whites overnight, it may surprise you to learn that wearing a clumsy retainer actually didn’t boost my self-esteem or sex drive in any way. Shocking.

Now that I know the peril of wearing corrective gear on half my teeth, half the time, my heart really goes out to those poor souls who have had to deal with the same or even worse. Let’s take a moment to acknowledge some of my favorite victims of oral hardware.

Fictional Characters

  • Mikey from Goonies: He’s short. He’s scrawny. He has asthma (me too, Mikey!). But you know what? His charisma makes up for it. And d*mn if he didn’t kiss an older girl with those braces in!
  • Paul Pfeiffer from Wonder Years: The quintessential nerd. And when I say nerd, I don’t mean in the modern, totally co-opted way the kids are using it now. A true nerd is laden with embarrassing physical traits, including a labyrinth of wires in his or her mouth.
  • Debra Morgan from Dexter: F*ckin’ Deb! I just had to mention her because Joe and I are watching season 5 right now and I squee’d a little when I saw that her character wears the same thing I do: a night guard! I just know we could be friends.


Real People

  • Parker Posey: Rumor has it she had real braces put on for her role in Waiting for Guffman and then kept them for Best in Show. VOLUNTARILY. Now that’s what I call method acting.
  • Kanye West: A near fatal car accident left him with his jaw wired shut and all kinds of bionic sh*t going on with his face. The image below is actually a still that I grabbed from his video for “Through the Wire.” These days he has diamond teeth, so you can feel a little less sorry for him.







That car crash makes wearing this thing only at night seem like a gift. What about you? Did you ever have braces or anything? Got any hilarious anecdotes you’d like to share?

16 thoughts on “Me and My Big Mouth

  1. I’m a bit of a grinder… I think the best advice I ever got was to buy sports mouth guards in, say Wal-Mart for 99 cents… you custom fit them yourself, and it’s slightly cheaper than prescription ones.

    I once put my guard in before bed, and noticed a crunch. “Weird. Is there an M&M in my mouth guard?” No, it was a ladybug. One of those years the ladybugs were parading around in the millions, like stink bugs, if a little less gross.

  2. i her a lot of ppl think that chick from dexter looks like a horse, but i think she’s hot.
    i was supposed to get braces when i was a kid, but my parents couldn’t afford it. i never ended up getting them, but many people have told me my teeth aren’t “that bad”. i disagree, but we’re always our harshest critics.

    • People say that about Sarah Jessica Parker, too, that she looks like a horse. I think they are both beautiful. Though I do think the Dexter chick looks like Woody from Toy Story. I will always stand by that.

      The dentist told me when I was young that they could snip the flesh between my teeth and fix the gap. Obviously, I declined. I’ve never noticed you to have unsightly teeth, so I guess that’s something?

  3. I got braces on the day before my 7th grade class photo, and got them off the day after my 8th grade photo. Bad Timing much?

    My Mom taught Phys. Ed. for 36 years, and had braces for several years in her mid 40s. As a gym teacher, she had to scream. A lot. Which would always result in a flurry of rubber bands escaping her mouth like horses from a barn on fire.

    I still say one of the best dental-related incidents I have ever experiences was when my Mom and I were in Grand Cayman. Before our trip, she had a bridge or some sort of dental implant put in. In the middle of a nice, crowded restaurant, she says “Man, my implants are really bothering me today” to which the two guys at the next table immediately turned their heads our direction, and in a completely obvious manner, began staring at her boobs.

    • Hahahahah that is hilarious! Not just the boobs story, but your school photo/braces timing. GOOD GRIEF.

      Also, “like horses from a barn on fire” is a magical phrase.

  4. Chalk another thing up in the Addi and Liz similarities pile. I’ve known I was a grinder for a couple of years, but I was diagnosed with TMJ this summer when, around Robin’s wedding, the little clicking I had always ignored became loud cracking, and I was waking up unable to close my mouth because my jaw was so misaligned. The intensity of that pain died down, but I still wake up with grinding headaches about twice a week and I’m starting to suspect the TMJ might have something to do with the problems I’ve been having with my ears and vertigo for the last year. Wacky!

    Also, first thought after my diagnosis? “How is this going to affect blow jobs?” #classy

    • Oh my god, mine is nowhere near that bad! Damn, girl! And I’m sorry, but it is almost 2012. Let’s just admit that the blow job is on the classy end of the sex spectrum these days.

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