I've been having slowly worsening jaw pain over the past few months (feels like my jaw is off-track, more than anything), so I decided to go see my dentist about it.
She did an x-ray and says there's nothing wrong mechanically wrong, which makes her think it's tied to the muscles (especially since pressing on said muscles brings some relief).
And then she recommended a night guard.
A $500 piece of plastic that is not covered by insurance.
To which I said, "And what exactly is the difference between this and what I can get at the drug store for twenty bucks?"
She proceeded to give me an answer (which ended with, "I'd rather have my patients do nothing than use a drug-store mouth guard"), to which I replied, "Yeah I'ma have to think about this," because, Gentle Reader, I am 99.9% positive this has nothing to do with my clenching my jaw at night. All day long, certainly, but not at night, because morning is the only time I don't have pain, and can actually close my jaw all the way. Which I did tell her, but apparently she... didn't listen? Or maybe didn't believe me? For real, what is it with medical professionals dismissing my observations on my body and instead just going for their stock answer?
So I'm feeling frustrated, and have prescribed myself my own treatment to try out.
1) Consciously relaxing my jaw throughout the day
2) Avoiding leaning my jaw on my hand, which I've been in the habit of doing while pumping
3) Making an effort to chew on the painful side (my theory here is that, because I've been chewing on the right side for like a year due to tooth-pain, I've screwed up my alignment)
4) Bringing meditation back into my life in an attempt to help me deal with stress better so that I'm not clenching so much in the first place
If this doesn't work, then I'll try a mouthguard.
But still probably not the $500 one.