Why Does My Jaw Hurt When I Wake Up in The Morning?

Do you have jaw pain when you wake up in the morning? At The Woodlands Dental Group in The Woodlands, Texas, David Epstein, DDS, and Nikita Vakil, DMD, are experienced when it comes to diagnosing and treating jaw pain. If your jaw hurts when you wake up, we recommend that you visit us so we can help you get relief. In the meantime, here are a few potential reasons why you may have jaw pain.

Three potential causes of morning jaw pain

Before you can get relief, you need to determine the cause. The following conditions can contribute to jaw pain:

1. Bruxism

Bruxism — known as teeth grinding — can cause a variety of symptoms, and jaw pain is one of them. Bruxism is characterized as grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw while you sleep. Consuming caffeine before bed, having high levels of stress, and taking certain medications — such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors — can increase your likelihood of clenching your jaw while you sleep. 

After a night of clenching your jaw, you’ll likely feel discomfort as soon as you wake up.

2. TMJ disorder

You have two temporomandibular joints — one on each side of your head — and they connect your lower jaw to your skull. If something impedes their ability to function  — such as a jaw injury or problems with surrounding muscles — this could cause a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. A TMJ disorder could lead to pain or tenderness in the morning. You may also notice any of the following symptoms:

Misaligned teeth, poor posture, and jaw injuries can all contribute to TMJ disorders. Furthermore, the condition can cause symptoms at any time.

3. Dental problems

In addition to clenching your teeth or having a TMJ disorder, dental issues can also cause jaw pain. Dental problems can include the following:

Gum disease can also cause jaw pain. Despite the name, gum disease affects more than just the gums. Advanced stages of gum disease can impact your jaw and even lead to tooth loss. 

These dental problems can cause jaw pain, especially if the pain radiates. However, dental problems like these are likely to cause jaw pain all day, not just in the morning. 

Treating jaw pain

To get to the root of what’s causing your jaw pain, your provider will perform a thorough exam. Your provider will inspect your mouth and ask about your symptoms, including the severity of your jaw pain and when you experience the most discomfort. Your provider may also take X-rays or other imaging tests.

If bruxism is causing your jaw pain, your provider may suggest wearing a mouthguard. Mouthguards are inserted into your mouth before you go to bed, and they can prevent you from clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth. 

If you have a TMJ disorder, your provider may also recommend a mouthguard or other treatments. And if you have a dental issue, such as a cavity, your provider will set up an appointment to resolve the issue.

If you wake up with jaw pain, we can help. To get to the bottom of your jaw pain — and to get a solution — book an appointment over the phone with The Woodlands Dental Group today.

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