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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Recession Worries: Bad for Teeth; Boon to Dentists

Recession Worries: Bad for Teeth; Boon to DentistsSix days ago, I woke to find pain in my jaw, on the right-hand side near the temple. The pain wasn't so severe that I couldn't work or think (yes, I've known that kind of mouth pain in the past), but it was annoying. I was worried about the cause. Could it be Tetanus (also known as lockjaw)? Or maybe I was grinding my teeth in my sleep? I'd never had a problem with nocturnal teeth grinding, but to me it seemed the most likely cause.

I decided to try my own fix. In bed, and close to dreamland, I got into the habit of extending my tongue so that it formed a barrier between my upper and lower gnashers. There was little change after a day, but two days later the pain was almost completely gone, and my tongue suffered no ill effects. Today I woke to find that my jaw was 100% back to normal.

I'm thankful that the pain has been eradicated, but now, once again, I'm worried about the cause. I'm 99% certain that it's this recession. I've been worried about my income, bills and responsibilities for some months now, and I think the anxiety is starting to take it's toll on my unconscious mind. Am I getting enough rest? I feel like I am, but I'd need to go to a sleep center to know for sure.

Then, earlier today, I listened to a great episode of my favorite NPR radio show This American Life. Today's show was called "Scenes From a Recession." The show begins with a segment about how this recession has been a boon to dentists. Nocturnal teeth grinding is up, resulting in chipped and worn out teeth. I was sorry to hear about the teeth, but it was nice to know that I'm not alone.

This recession episode also features a great piece detailing, in documentary form, the closing of a failed bank (if you're wondering which bank, it's this one.) Good stuff.

And that's not all: there's also a fascinating piece covering the final days of a Circuit City store, and it includes the kind of detailed coverage I've come to admire -- no love -- about This American Life (FYI: Circuit City no longer exists.) I found this particular story compelling, because I always thought the service at Circuit City was beyond terrible, and most of my friends didn't agreed with me.

If you missed it, the episode will be available (at the story link above) as a free MP3 download within a few days. Highly recommended.

Of course, if I'm wrong and it is Tetanus, I'll blog about it at this blog, from my hospital bed! But I think I'm OK. If the pain comes back I'll look into getting a teeth grinding guard later this week.

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