Okay, tried the vodka trick, and it did work – right up until I fell asleep sitting up, woke up clenching my teeth and was in that old, familiar world of hurt.
That gave me an idea, though. I ran down to the nearest department store – K-mart in my case – and spent 1.76 on a sport mouth guard. I cut it in two and fit the left half (my good side) so that when I clenched in my sleep again, there, theoretically, wouldn’t be any pressure on my bad right side. Thank God it worked; between the numbing effects of the vodka wash, the lack of pressure granted by the half-mouth guard and the antibiotics finally taking hold and eliminating the constant low-level pain, I was actually able to sleep through the night for the first time in four days!
Just a word of warning to anyone thinking of using the mouth guard trick: be sure to blunt or round off the corners where you split it and be prepared for it to slide around a little. It’s a bit awkward at first and takes some getting used to (especially if you’re like me and have never played sports or used a mouth guard before!) but the results are worth the effort!