What Causes Jaw Pain in the Morning?

Categories: TMJ/TMD


You probably already know that sleeping in an awkward posture might leave you with a stiff back or neck when you wake up. But did you know that it’s also possible to wake up with a painful jaw? If you are suffering from painful sensations in your jaw, neck, head, or shoulders, you may be experiencing TMJ or bruxism symptoms. Although the symptoms of both conditions are similar, it’s essential to differentiate between the two to get the appropriate therapy. Our Scotts Valley dentists who treat bruxism and TMJ share what may cause your jaw pain in the morning and what you can do to find relief and wake up pain-free.

Is it Bruxism or TMJ?

Bruxism – Teeth Clenching and Grinding – Bruxism, often known as teeth grinding, is a condition in which an individual grinds their teeth involuntarily, most frequently when sleeping. In most cases, this is associated with stress or circumstances that are distressing. Our Los Gatos dentists who treat bruxism share below the most common symptoms among patients.

  • Receding gums and thinning tooth enamel
  • Fractured, cracked, chipped, or worn teeth
  • Painful sensations in the shoulders, jaw, neck, or ears

TMJ – Temporomandibular Joint Disorder – Your jaws put in a lot of hard effort daily! Because the joint is intended to move in both the vertical and horizontal planes as well as from side to side, it is simple to see how misalignment and inflammation might develop in the joint. Pain in the jaw caused by temporomandibular joint disease is localized to the jaw’s nerves and muscles. TMJ may be caused by a variety of conditions and factors, including arthritis, stress, autoimmune illness, and even injuries.

Our TMJ dentists in Santa Cruz share below the most common symptoms among patients

  • Grinding one’s teeth
  • Neck and earache first thing in the morning
  • Discomfort in the jaw as well as the shoulders
  • Headaches first thing in the morning, which might last all-day

How do I get permanent relief?

It’s good news that both conditions respond well to treatment, and in most cases, no surgery is required. People who have TMJ or who grind their teeth at night may discover that a little massage of the jaw muscles and joints just before bed helps relax the area and prevents them from clenching their jaws. On the other hand, others may benefit from electronic muscle stimulation using a TENS machine. However, most patients respond the best by wearing a customized mouthguard while sleeping to absorb the intense bite pressures and protect their smile. Our Scotts Valley neuromuscular dentists explain that treatment times vary from one patient to another and depend on your condition’s severity and other oral health considerations.

TMJ Specialists in Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley, California

Waking up with pain or staying in pain all day can make it incredibly challenging to accomplish your To Do List. Even though the pain may subside when you use over-the-counter pain-relieving medications, the effects are often temporary, and the pain returns. Unfortunately, until the underlying issue is corrected, the painful sensations will return and increase in intensity. Therefore, you must contact our Santa Cruz neuromuscular dentists at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry for a consultation if you have jaw pain in the morning. Please call our office at (831) 438-4411 or request an appointment online today.