Why Does My Jaw Hurt First Thing in the Morning?

February 22, 2023

Filed under: News — elmbrookfamilydental @ 2:51 pm
man rubbing his eyes just after waking up

When you wake up in the morning, ideally you’ll feel happy, refreshed, and ready for the day. Some people, however, wake up with aching, pain, and discomfort in their jaw.

If you’re in that position, you’re probably concerned that you have some sort of underlying issue. At the very least, you would probably prefer that you didn’t have to deal with the discomfort anymore. If you’re curious about what the issue could be, and what you could do about it, here are some reasons that you could be dealing with jaw pain when you wake up.


Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is one of the most common reasons for jaw pain. Most people who chronically grind their teeth do so at night, while they’re sleeping. In fact, you might have this issue without even realizing it.

Bruxism can be caused by a wide variety of factors, including increased caffeine use, smoking, stress, and some chronic jaw conditions (more on that later). If you grind your teeth, or if you think that you might, it’s worth asking your dentist about being fit for a nightguard. That’ll protect your teeth and jaw from the pressure of bruxism.

Sleep Posture

Certain sleeping positions can put undue pressure on your neck and jaw, which can actually cause some fairly serious discomfort over time. For example, sleeping on your stomach often requires you to crane your neck so that you can breathe. Doing that for eight hours a night can cause some fairly significant oral health problems over time.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJ, connect your jaw to the rest of your face. Chronic bruxism or injury can cause these joints to become misaligned, leading to what’s called a TMJ disorder. Such a disorder can start to cause a fair amount of discomfort as time goes on. This pain can be in the jaw or face, and it tends to be at its worst first thing in the morning.

TMJ disorder can cause bruxism, as was hinted at earlier, which only makes these problems worse. This is often accompanied by some problems that seem unrelated to the jaw, like headaches, nausea, or vertigo.

If you have TMJ, your dentist will be able to help you. There are mouthpieces that you can wear in your sleep that can adjust your bite, allowing you to recover from the condition. In either case, you shouldn’t have to deal with TMJ discomfort; talk to your dentist about solutions to your issue!

About Our Practice

At Elmbrook Family Dental, our goal is to provide the families in our community with everything they need to create smiles that last. One way we do that is by staying on top of contemporary dental technology, ensuring that we can have the most complete understanding of our patients’ oral health we can.

If you have any questions about TMJ disorders or jaw pain in general, we can be reached at our website or by phone at (262) 784-7201.

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