When I was about 16 years old, I was at the dentist’s getting a routine checkup.
Routine, that is, until a tic snapped my jaw shut on whatever sadistic little tool the dental assistant was fooling around with in my mouth.
Luckily I didn’t suffer any damage to my teeth, but from that day forward I’ve paid more attention to how tics
affect my pearly whites.
The news ain’t great. For instance, I’m 33 years old.
I just had a checkup about a month ago. My skin crawled when
the dentist said, “Okay, we’ve really got to do something
about this. You’re just wearing them down too far.”
I clench my jaw at night. And although I am really not
experiencing tics anymore, I used to clack my teeth
together constantly. I would do it to punctuate the
sentences I would speak, the beat of the music I would
listen to, or I would just do it without consciously
Just like any movement which results in our bodies’ tissue
or material impacting itself, there had been a toll. My
teeth were getting worn down to the point that he said
they might get too loose to be held in the gums if they got
But he had a suggestion, and that’s what I want to give you
today if you or your loved one with Tourette’s is in the
Get a mouthguard made. I now have a fancy ceramic mouthpiece
that I wear at night, while I’m driving in my truck, and
I also wear it at work as much as I can get away with.
Even though I no longer need it to intervene with teeth-
related tics, I can’t forget about what he said. I’m willing
to err on the side of caution here.
But if you do have tics that involve your teeth, I’d
recommend asking about getting a guard made. It’s easier to
prevent this sort of damage than to reverse it.
And the inconvenience or dorkiness of wearing a mouthguard
pales in comparison to the thought of seeing the dentist
more often than I have to!
If you have TS you may enjoy the Tourette’s Newsletter I have started.