Waking up with a stiff or aching jaw may be signs of parafunction.
What is parafunction ?
Parafunction is often used to describe when a person has a habit of clenching or grinding their teeth. It is sometimes referred to as Bruxism. This is very common in the population with many people suffering from it at some time in their lifetime. It ‘s often worse at times of stress, such as exams, change in job or other life pressures. Significant forces can be placed on teeth during these times, putting them at risk.
What are the symptoms ?
Commonly stiff jaw or aching face when waking in the morning. Many people often clench and grind their teeth unknowingly while they’re asleep. Others may while awake when using the computer or watching television. The muscles around the face ache and there may be clicking of the jaw joints when opening and closing the mouth and sometimes headaches.
What are the signs ?
Some patients have no pain or tenderness of their face muscles or joints, but there may be signs of chipped or worn teeth. Teeth with underlying gum disease may loosen further due to the strong biting forces placed on them.
How can it be treated ?
Parafunction often has multiple causes, a major one being stress. First step would be to visit the dentist so we can help to establish what the problem is and try to help find a solution. Diet, relaxation, jaw exercises can often provide relief. Sometimes medication or active dental treatment is needed. A custom made biteguard provided by your dentist can help reduce pain and jaw muscle tension, as well as help prevent tooth damage caused by clenching or grinding teeth.
To find out how our dentist can help you, please call 020 8997 0006 to book your appointment … or submit online appointment request form.