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?