Extra tension in your jaw can seem like a minor issue, but it can lead to a lot of discomfort if left untreated over time. Could jaw clenching be the source of your discomfort? Read on to learn about the most common signs of jaw clenching and what you can do to find relief.

How Do I Know if I Clench My Jaw?

Signs of jaw clenching can include headaches, stiffness, or discomfort in your jaw, increased tooth sensitivity to hot or cold food or drinks, and discomfort when chewing. It may also be accompanied by teeth grinding.

A simple way to check if you may be clenching your jaw is to look at your tongue and see if the edges of your tongue show indentations from your teeth. Indentations are a sign that you’ve been clenching your jaw too tightly. When resting, your top and bottom molars or back teeth should not be touching if your jaw is relaxed.

What Causes Jaw Clenching?

Jaw clenching is also referred to as bruxism. There are two types of bruxism: Awake bruxism and sleep bruxism. Doctors aren’t sure what causes either type of bruxism or jaw clenching, but things like stress, heightened emotions, lack of sleep, or stimulants like caffeine can tend to trigger it and make it worse.

What Helps with Jaw Clenching?

If you’ve noticed signs of jaw clenching, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your dentist to rule out other possible causes of dental discomfort and discuss your treatment options. Your dentist may ask you about your lifestyle and when your symptoms occur then provide suggestions to help reduce stress and promote relaxation such as yoga, meditation, or therapy.

Your dentist may also recommend a custom mouthguard designed to reduce jaw clenching that you can wear at night or at other times when you tend to hold extra tension in your jaw such as while driving or sitting at a desk working.

What are the Risks of Jaw Clenching?

It’s important not to ignore the signs of jaw clenching. If it’s treated early, it can be fairly simple to treat, but the long term effects of untreated bruxism can become more complicated as time goes on. Call your dentist today to find out if jaw clenching is causing you discomfort so that you can experience relief as soon as possible.

Call our Tempe Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.