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Waking Up With a Headache or Sore Jaw? You’re Likely Grinding Your Teeth

If you frequently wake up suffering from jaw pain and headaches, chances are you are grinding and clenching your teeth while sleeping. This seemingly insignificant habit, medically called Bruxism, can have severe consequences. 

In this blog, Abraham Nobel, DDS, MPH of Nobel Dentistry in Los Angeles, California, breaks down the problem — and solution — of teeth grinding. Let’s start with an overview.

Teeth grinding (bruxism) 101

Teeth grinding is common, affecting an estimated 30 to 40 million children and adults in the United States. Characterized by grinding and gnashing of teeth, as well as excessive jaw clenching, Bruxism can occur at any time of day. But most of the time, patients unconsciously grind away while asleep.

In addition to waking up with a headache or sore jaw, damage caused by Bruxism doesn’t end there. Over time chronic teeth grinding can lead to chipped, damaged, or worn down teeth as well as tooth loss, facial pain, and a popping or clicking in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

Diagnosing the problem

If you don’t wake up with telltale symptoms of Bruxism, such as a headache, jaw pain, or even earache,, Dr. Nobel will likely discover the evidence of your nighttime teeth grinding at your bi-annual dental exam and cancer check. This can include excessive wear on the surface of your teeth or marks on the inside of your cheeks.

Understanding the cause of teeth grinding

Bruxism can run in families. Beyond a potential genetic component, stress is typically considered a culprit. Other factors include poor teeth alignment and certain medications such as antidepressants, such as fluoxetine and paroxetine, may contribute to teeth grinding.

Bruxism is also associated with medical conditions like mental health and medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), dementia, epilepsy, sleep apnea, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Bruxism treatment 

After a comprehensive evaluation of your oral health, Dr. Nobel may advise wearing a custom mouthguard while you sleep. He can create this appliance that will keep your teeth from coming into contact while you slumber in peace.

If you are waking up with a headache or jaw pain, don’t suffer. You could be causing long-term harm to your oral health. For help with Bruxism and all of your oral health care needs, schedule a consultation with Dr. Nobel by calling Nobel Dentistry today. 

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