My mouth is trying to eat itself

I woke up this morning feeling like the left side of my jaw had been hit by a baseball. My mind first landed on the most extreme possibility: cavity! Call the dentist! Then I remembered the LAST time this happened to me, and that my enamel wasn’t actually being eaten from the inside out but stress was causing me to grind my teeth while I slept, leaving me with one heck of a toothache and a flare-up of my old arch-nemesis, TMJ pain. I tried to open my mouth, which confirmed the problem: when the TMJ acts up, my mouth will only open to the width of about two fingers (making eating a difficult if not entertaining task).

Pre-wedding stress caused my teeth to go absolutely nuts the last time this happened so the dentist outfitted me with a super stylish mouth guard – just what a new bride wants on her honeymoon. Belize calmed the stress out of me so I haven’t used the mouth guard since a few days after we got married (and let’s face it – a hunk of plastic in your mouth is just not attractive… I’m willing to take one for the team). But I may need to fish the old mouth guard out for a few days and see what happens. I don’t think stress is the problem because I’ve been battling a nasty cold which seems to have taken residence in my sinuses, and I’ve read that sinus swelling and TMJ are definitely related. Regardless, hopefully it goes away as quickly as it came!

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