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Bruxism, Sore Jaw Muscles and Headache

Do you sometimes wake up in the morning with a sore jaw and face? Do you notice that your face muscles get fatigued from chewing sometimes and stretching your jaw as you yawn feels good? You may be one of the estimated 30 to 40 million children and adults who suffer from a condition known as bruxism in the United States.

Bruxism is the clenching or grinding of the teeth, often without being aware that you are doing so. While some people may do this during the day in times of stress, anxiety or concentration, some only grind their teeth while they are asleep. Referred to as nocturnal bruxism or sleep-related bruxism, the clenching and grinding of the teeth at night usually occurs when the person is going through a period of time in which anxiety is impacting their life. For daytime grinders, people experience the clenching and grinding during situations that make them feel tense or anxious.

So what does all of this have to do with teeth and overall oral health? Bruxism has an impact on dental fillings and a variety of other tooth issues. Severe cases of bruxism or in situations where the bruxism affects the patient on a regular basis over a prolonged period of time can result in fractured dental fillings or cause other types of tooth damage.

According to Colgate, severe cases of bruxism have also been blamed for some cases of temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), mysterious morning headaches and unexplained facial pain.

If you are experiencing any of the below symptoms, contact the Kansas City, MO cosmetic dentistry office of Dr. Jim Anderson, D.D.S. and our staff will work with you to determine your dental needs. We make every effort to respond to inquiries within 24-48 hours.

Symptoms include:

  1. Jaw muscles that contract rhythmically

  2. If a family member/partner in your bedroom mentions a grinding sound at night, which may disturb the sleep of the friend as well as the “bruxer”

  3. A dull morning headache

  4. Tight and painful jaw muscles that are especially so in the first hours of the morning

  5. Chronic facial pain

  6. Damaged teeth, fractured dental fillings and injured gums

Bruxism can be treated with mouth guards or similar dental accessories, but if it is not addressed quickly enough, you may need to undergo dental procedures to repair the side effects of grinding and clenching.

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