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Does Your Jaw Hurt In the Morning? It Could Be Teeth Grinding

Instead of waking up feeling refreshed, you’re met with jaw pain in the mornings and maybe even a headache, and you can’t figure out why. The odds are pretty good that you’re grinding or clenching your teeth at night, a common condition called bruxism.

Stress-related dental issues are fairly common these days — in one poll, 71% of dentists said they saw an increase in teeth grinding and clenching among Americans.

So, if your day starts with jaw pain, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Aura Dentistry, Dr. Negar Tehrani and Dr. Chang Yi not only appreciate the discomfort that comes with bruxism, but we also understand that this habit can damage your teeth. Let’s take a look.

Stress and teeth-grinding

Americans are highly stressed these days—nearly one-quarter of adults in the United States report stress levels that range between 8 and 10 (on a scale from 1 to 10). While stress can certainly take a mental and emotional toll, it also greatly impacts physical health.

Stress, as a physiological state, can manifest itself in many different ways, from back pain and indigestion to headaches and teeth grinding. This grinding often occurs at night while you’re asleep, so your jaw feels most sore in the mornings. That said, stress-related teeth clenching can occur throughout the day.

The complications of teeth grinding

While a sore jaw is certainly what grabs your attention, other side effects come with teeth grinding, such as:

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction

Your jaw is a hinge mechanism that relies on two tiny joints on either side — your TMJs. When you grind or clench your teeth, you place more pressure on these joints, which can lead to pain in your jaw, facial pain, and headaches.

Wearing down your teeth

A serious side effect of bruxism is wearing down your teeth prematurely. As you wear your teeth down through grinding, you lose protective enamel, and your teeth can become more sensitive and prone to tooth decay.

Chips and cracks

It’s not uncommon for us to see evidence of teeth grinding at night in the form of chips and cracks in teeth.

Easing up on your teeth

Given the potential complications and discomfort associated with bruxism, it’s important that you seek our help for teeth grinding. 

Our first step will be to evaluate the issue, and then we’ll likely set you up with a nightguard to help protect your teeth. This mouthguard is custom-made to fit comfortably over your teeth, so it shouldn't affect your ability to sleep soundly. In fact, we believe you’ll be sleeping more soundly with the nightguard in place.

We also believe that teeth grinding is a wake-up call to take steps to ease stress in your life. We know this is easier said than done, but we urge you to find ways to relax, such as with:

Whatever helps to ease your body and put you in a more peaceful mindset is an activity well worth pursuing.

So, if you’re dealing with jaw pain in the morning, please come see us so we can protect your teeth from damage and relieve your pain. To get started, please contact our office in McLean, Virginia, at 703-429-0770 to schedule an appointment. You can also use our online form to request a consultation.

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