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Mysterious Morning Jaw Pain: Explore Causes and Remedies

August 11, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — holland @ 8:15 pm
A woman waking up with jaw pain

For some people, it’s hard enough to get up with the alarm, let alone deal with unexplained chronic jaw pain on a regular basis. If your jawbone is aching as soon as your head comes off the pillow, there may be some underlying oral health issue that your dentist may be able to help you with.

If you’re tired of this symptom and want some relief from your throbbing jaw in the wee hours of the sun, continue reading to learn some common causes and dental solutions that may save you from more cranky mornings.

Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

One common reason for jaw pain is bruxism, a painful habit where your teeth grind together. This can happen for several reasons:

  • A misaligned bite causing your mouth to overcompensate as it tries to close.
  • Stress and anxiety stimulating your jaw muscles to clench.
  • Excess caffeine or alcohol before sleep.
  • Genetic factors that influence your sleep patterns.
  • Other conditions such as ADHD, sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), and epilepsy.

Whatever the cause, the result is an involuntary response to stimuli that causes your jaw to clench with more force than necessary. This in turn can contribute to tightened muscles in the neck and jaw as well as damage your teeth.

If you suspect that you may grind your teeth at night, or if you find yourself doing it during the day, visit your dentist. They may offer an orthodontic solution like Invisalign or recommend a night guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.

Cavities or Gum (Periodontal) Disease

Another cause of sore morning jaw could be hidden cavities or infected gums.

Cavities are small areas of decay that form when bacterial plaque accumulates on your teeth. If you brush regularly, but skip the floss, food particles can wedge between your teeth and turn acidic, leading to hidden cavities that slowly eat their way into the nerves of your teeth, causing pain.

Infected gums become red and inflamed as the tissues process the bacteria that is slowly making its way into the socket of your tooth. This bacterium begins to eat away at the tooth and eventually the jawbone itself if left untreated.

Along with routine dental appointments every six months, brushing your teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily are the best ways to prevent these conditions from occurring.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction

If teeth grinding goes unnoticed or untreated, it could lead to TMJ dysfunction. The temporomandibular joint connects your lower jawbone with the rest of your skull and can become sore or overworked due to bruxism, sleeping position, or even over-exertion during exercise.

This condition is similar to arthritis in the other joints of your hands, feet, or knees and should be treated by a medical professional, especially if it is causing severe pain. Your dentist may have treatments available specifically for TMJ relief, so be sure to ask at your next appointment.

There could be several reasons why your jaw is in pain when you wake in the morning, but the outcome is the same: make an effort to see your dentist and have them treat you. Observing a regular oral routine will save you from some pain, but for the rest your dentist will need to intervene to ensure you sleep easy and awaken refreshed.

About the Practice

At New Image Dentistry, your team of dedicated dentists is committed to providing effective solutions for patients seeking relief from discomfort in the San Antonio area. With a focus on advanced techniques and compassionate care, we aim to enhance your overall well-being and restore your quality of life with innovative treatments. To schedule an appointment to alleviate jaw pain, call (210) 804-1558 or visit the website to explore additional options.

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