Q. What could be causing my jaw to be sore when I awake in the morning?
A. Bruxism, commonly known as tooth grinding, is the clenching together of the bottom and upper jaw accompanied by the grinding of the lower set of teeth with the upper set.
Bruxism is a subconscious behavior. Although it can occur during the waking hours, bruxism most frequently occurs while we sleep.
Often it is a partner who tells one about the nighttime sounds that they produce. During sleep, the biting force (the force at which the jaws clench together) can be up to six times greater than the pressure during waking hours. Consequently, significant damage occurs with this nighttime habit.
Bruxism can lead to pain in the facial muscles, cause headaches, and even earaches. Facial muscles often feel sore, tender or tight especially in the morning. Bruxism can lead to the following:
- Cosmetic Damage
- Sensitive teeth
- Fractured Teeth and Fillings
- TMJ Damage
If you suspect that you suffer from bruxism, see your dentist. There are several ways to treat this problem.