Jaw Clenching Treatment Questions and Answers
For more information on jaw clenching and how it can affect your health, read our below Q and A page. Call Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders for more information about jaw clenching treatment, or schedule an appointment online. We serve patients from all over the USA. Locations in Bloomington IL, Peoria – Dunlap IL, Lafayette IN, Mishawaka IN, Columbia MO, Kansas City MO, Albuquerque NM, Brewster NY, El Paso TX, and Wausau WI.
Jaw clenching is a common condition related to teeth grinding. It can occur throughout the day, when feeling anxious or when focused on a task, or during the night, often without the person’s knowledge. Jaw clenching often goes unnoticed until it causes pain or discomfort, and excessive jaw clenching can lead to headaches, TMJ disorders and damage to the jaw.
What are the signs and symptoms of jaw clenching?
Symptoms of teeth grinding include:
- Facial pain
- Pain in the jaw and surrounding muscles
- Disrupted sleep (for you or others)
- Worn-down teeth
- Broken teeth or fillings
Facial pain and headaches that are caused by bruxism often disappear when grinding of the teeth stops. Tooth damage typically only occurs in severe cases and often requires treatment.
Is clenching teeth a sign of stress?
Teeth clenching is often related to stress or anxiety. While it does not always cause symptoms, some people experience facial pain, headaches, and worn down teeth over time. Most people who clench their teeth are not even aware that they are doing it. Stress is one of the most common causes of teeth clenching. Teeth clenching can occur during the day or throughout the night, which can cause facial muscles to tighten up over time, or lead to more serious dental problems such as tooth damage and even tooth loss.
Other signs of stress include:
- Clenching of the fist
- Tension in the shoulder and neck muscles
What causes jaw clenching?
Jaw clenching occurs when the two very powerful muscles known as the Masseter and Temporalis, cause the lower jaw to shut. The Masseter runs from the rear part of the cheekbone to the lower jaw, while the Temporalis is a fan-shaped muscle that runs from the side of the skull to the back of the lower jaw. The cause of teeth grinding is unique to each patient, and the doctors at Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders work to establish whether physical, psychological, or genetic factors are at play. Clenching during the day is usually triggered by stress, tension, or even intense concentration. Nighttime grinding is often associated with sleep apnea, acid reflux or hyperactivity and can also occur as a side effect of certain medications. Other causes of jaw clenching include tobacco or nicotine use, caffeine use, alcohol use and the use of illicit substances.
Jaw clenching may lead to:
- Waking up with tight jaw or shoulder muscles
- Sore jaw or sore facial muscles
- Headaches or neck discomfort
- Chipped, broken or cracked teeth
- Sensitive or loose teeth
- Night time drooling
- Joint compression
If the teeth at the back of the mouth are more sensitive than normal or if experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, jaw clenching may be causing damage to the back teeth.
Whether you or someone you love clenches their jaw at night or during the day, the professionals at Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders can help. We are experienced in diagnosing and treating jaw clenching and focus on discovering the root cause of the problem for long-term relief. If you are not sure if you grind your teeth at night but believe you might be, come in today for a professional medical evaluation. Our team of dedicated specialists strive to provide the highest level of care at each and every visit. Call us today to book an appointment. We look forward to serving you!