If you’ve been waking up with mysterious jaw pain, you may not be sure what’s wrong. Should you be worried? What should you do to get the help you need in Long Beach? Find out in this blog from Dodds Dental now!
If Your Jaw Hurts In The Morning, You May Be Grinding Your Teeth
Teeth grinding (bruxism) is the most common cause of jaw pain. If you notice that your jaw only hurts in the morning when you wake up, and your jaw pain becomes less intense as the day goes on, nighttime teeth grinding is the most likely culprit.
Teeth grinding can cause a lot of stress on your jaw muscles. This is because it’s a “parafunctional” activity, meaning that it’s an activity that uses your teeth for something that they aren’t intended for.
Our teeth are only meant to make contact when we bite or chew. When our mouths are at rest, they are usually separated, and are not clenched together. So if you grind your teeth at night, this can put a lot of stress on the jaw joints and muscles of your face, resulting in jaw pain.
Stress-Related Teeth Grinding Is Common – Take These Steps To Treat It
It’s estimated that around 8-31% of the population suffer from teeth grinding at some point in their lives. The most common reason for teeth grinding at night is stress and anxiety. If you are stressed out, your body may respond by grinding or clenching your teeth. This can happen unconsciously throughout the day, but it’s much more common at night.
However, there are a few lifestyle changes you can make to reduce stress-related grinding. A few common suggestions include:
- Avoiding consumption caffeinated drinks in the afternoon
- Doing your best to relax and rest before you go to bed by doing things like taking a warm shower or bath, or reading a book
- Practicing good “sleep hygiene” such as minimizing light in your room, keeping it at the proper temperature, and avoiding screen time for an hour before bed
Get A Night Guard From Dodds Dental To Prevent Damage To Your Teeth
The above steps may help you reduce teeth grinding. But if you are grinding your teeth heavily, or you try the steps we provided and they do not help with your pain or discomfort, you may need a night guard from Dr. Emily and Dr. Dustin Dodds.
Typically, a plastic night guard is made to cover up only your upper teeth. The outer layers of the night guard are made of hard, durable plastic, while the inner layer uses a softer, more comfortable plastic material.
When worn, your night guard will fit perfectly over your teeth, and will prevent direct tooth-to-tooth contact. This, in turn, will help reduce your grinding and prevent damage to your teeth.
Get Help For Jaw Pain In Long Beach From Dodds Dental
If you are having trouble with jaw pain and believe you may be grinding your teeth, it’s important to get help. Prolonged, heavy grinding can cause serious problems like TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder), and premature tooth wear & tear.