So I’ve been wearing my apnodent appliance for a week and a half, and things have been… interesting.
The appliance serves 5 functions
1⚙️ It holds my jaw in position while I sleep. Without this my jaw slips back toward my throat, decreasing or closing my airway, causing me to stop breathing. My body then wakes me up just enough that I tense my jaw unconsciously in order to breath again. Then I fall back asleep and eventually my jaw/neck/head muscles relax enough that my jaw sinks back into my breathing passage, I stop breathing, I wake and clench…
I sleep poorly.
My body doesn’t get into the deep sleep cycles it needs to fully rest and rejuvenate. I don’t release, or I release a reduced amount of the healthy hormones associated with these deep levels of sleep (including Growth hormone). I wake up tired and cranky (even if I’ve been in bed a long time). My jaw hurts……….
2 ⚙️ It stops me from grinding my own teeth down while I’m clenching for air.
3 ⚙️ It allows more of my teeth to be touching a surface while my jaw is at rest. When the human bite aligns properly, every tooth has a/several touch points. Each tooth has a nerve and registers pressure. Each tooth sends information to the brain that is integral to the processing of, well, everything. When a tooth doesn’t touch, it doesn’t send the same information.
If I close my bite in a way that allows my jaw joint to be at rest, only some of my back right tooth touches.
Now, bodies are smart, and mine knows that it cannot carry all the pressure of my jaw and head on part of one tooth, so it adapts. It shifts forward, so that more of my teeth can touch.
Trouble is, this strains the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of my jaw and face. It places pressure on the joint in a dis-eased way that caused my jaw bone to grind down. It caused the pillow-like tissue between the bones of my jaw joint to be displaced and degrade.
The apnodent allows more of my teeth to touch, while letting my jaw rest in, what would be, a natural position.
Eventually, with the addition of Invisalign, I will bring my teeth back into alignment within my jaw.
4 ⚙️ It allows everything around my jaw joint to come to rest, so that my body has a chance to do the work of “taking out the garbage” and repairing the tissue.
With time, I will rebuild my own jaw.
5 ⚙️ All of this tissue change near the top of my spine will alter everything else about my body.
Change one thing, and you change everything.
Change something at the top of the spine and whooo, better hold on to your britches.
I have noticed so much shifting already!
Among other things, my face has softened (quite a bit) and widened (just slightly).
The clicking pattern in my jaw is different. It is quieter. My left side has started to click more easily. My right side clicks much less, and then only with more effort (muscular tension).
When I relax my jaw, I can feel my entire face and neck shift. I can feel my upper spine shift. Literally the position of it changes. (I’ve had a hot hatha yoga and meditation practice for over 10 years- I’ve practiced noticing my body a lot).
Do you know what the nerves of the upper spine control?
Paltry things like heart rate, breathing, sensation to your face, arms, and shoulders, etc, etc, etc.
Applying a forward pressure here, a constant tension, changes the realities of life.
And, I’ve noticed a lot of releasing.
I’m asking parts of my body to relax. Parts that almost never have, in my life. I’m asking it all to shift and let go.
What that means practically is that feelings (read sensations) and emotions that I have stored in these tissues are looking for ways out.
Sometimes this has shown up as flashbacks or deja vu.
Sometimes it shows up as extreme discomfort during, followed by extreme release after- a hatha yoga practice, enema, or individual or paired sexual practice.
Sometimes it shows up as an opportunity to choose a different response. For example, I have found myself insanely and unusually annoyed at my kids. My reaction would be to yell at, belittle, and control them, when I feel this way.
I have the opportunity to choose something else (but brother is this harder right now).
For me, success at this currently looks something like admitting out loud, “I am feeling furious right now and it has nothing to do with you. I am going to take some space,” and then taking myself outside to put my bare feet on the bare ground and take deep breaths, sometimes with the assistance of various plants.
Sometimes it shows up as the opportunity to express my true self, even if I am afraid of the reactions of others.
Our throats and jaws often carry the tension of times and ways we felt unable to speak as ourselves.
Oftentimes it shows up as seemingly disembodied rage. Fury that attaches itself to anything logical in my vicinity.
Healing, I’ve found, isn’t a linear path towards more enjoyable feelings and states of being. It is an ebb and flow, a relaxing and releasing, followed by tensing, and then choosing to relax and release again. It’s challenging and confronting. But when we don’t do it, we solidify disease.
It feels appropriate that I find myself in this particular part of the journey during my premenstrum- the time I’m called (or demanded) to notice all the things I can let go of, all the things no longer serving me.
So I’m gearing up to clean and organize parts of the house, do a week long liver flush, and let out some creations that have been simmering inside of me for quite some time.
Then, when I bleed (or when my body tells me to), I will profoundly rest, so that my body is invited to do all the magnificent things it knows to do, to bring me back to health and wholeness.
I’m writing this in part to strengthen my resolve- to take these deep breaths, to walk these new and challenging paths, to keep softening, relaxing, and opening, even when it hurts like a Mother.
I am a Mother.
I am that strong.