Romantic comedies often depict dental nightguards as the kiss of romantic death but these life-saving necessities provide relief for many people who suffer from TMJD.

TMJD, also commonly referred to as TMJ or TMJ syndrome, stands for temporomandibular joint dysfunction. The temporomandibular joint connects the skull (socket) to the jawbone (ball) and ought to open and close smoothly and freely, allowing you to talk and enjoy eating all types of foods. However, more than 3 million Americans with TMJ have inflammation in this joint and suffer a host of problems that a dental nightguard can help alleviate.

Jaw pain, difficulty opening the mouth wide, and a clicking, popping or locking jaw are well-known symptoms of TMJ, but check out these additional symptoms that may surprise you:

  • Sore or loose teeth – While loose teeth were attributed to scurvy (Vitamin C deficiency) back in the 18th century, with today’s healthier diets, TMJ is more often the cause.
  • Sensitive, worn teeth due to grinding and clenching are telltale symptoms of TMJ.
  • Headaches ranging from sinus, tension to full blown migraines can be attributed to TMJ. While persistent headaches warrant a visit to your doctor or neurologist to rule out possible reasons for your head pain, a trip to your dental group may get to the bottom of it as well.
  • Eye pain, bloodshot eyes, eye swelling and light sensitivity due to referred and nerve pain.

A visit to the ophthalmologist is wise to rule out any eye-related problems.

  • Chipped or cracked teeth – While a chipped tooth requires a trip to the emergency dentist for a quick repair, if chips happen repeatedly, chances are you have TMJ, which must be addressed to prevent more cracks or chips from occurring.
  • Sore, tender jaw exacerbated by biting, chewing, and yawning.
  • Sore neck, shoulders and back with tight muscles that may cause numbness of arms and fingers.
  • Difficulty swallowing, losing your voice, throat clearing, coughing, and the sensation of foreign object in the throat.
  • Buzzing, hissing, or ringing in the ears, hearing loss, ear pain, itchy or clogged ears, dizziness, and vertigo.
  • Grinding or clenching the teeth and jaw often accompanied by a grating sound.

TMJ triggers can include stress, improper posture at your desk or seat, seasonal allergies, injuries, tooth loss and more. TMJ no-no’s such as chewing gum, eating nuts, apples and other hard foods or candies will also increase symptoms.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above and feel jaw fatigue upon eating carrots or your favorite salad or steak, it is time to get checked out. Relief of these symptoms can be achieved with a professional dental nightguard. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a general dentist or a dental group that provides total care dental to get a TMJ mouth guard today!