QUESTION: Why does my jaw ache in the morning? Sometimes it makes a popping sound when I open and close my mouth.

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You may be grinding your teeth in your sleep. This can be caused by stress, although it can also be caused by sleep disorders or mechanical issues with your teeth such as misalignment. The technical term for this is bruxism. It is not good for your overall dental health. Mild grinding doesn’t generally doesn’t need treatment. If your clenching or grinding is severe, you can be fitted with a mouth guard to wear at night which will  protect your teeth and prevent further damage such as jaw disorders, headaches, and damaged teeth, According to the Mayo Clinic, “Sleep bruxism is considered a sleep-related movement disorder. People who clench or grind their teeth (brux) during sleep are more likely to have other sleep disorders, such as snoring and pauses in breathing (sleep apnea).” In addition to sharing your symptoms with your dentist, it is a good idea to let your general medical practitioner know too.

Not sure if you do this? Some typical signs are:
• Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped or loose
• Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth
• Increased tooth sensitivity
• Jaw or face pain or soreness
• Tired or tight jaw muscles
• Pain that feels like an earache, though it’s actually not a problem with your ear
• Dull headache originating in the temples
• Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek
• Indentations on your tongue
A simple exam at our office will let you know the severity and a treatment plan.

Please contact Dr. Brandon Elimanco, Dental Harmony, 63 West Main Street Freehold at 732-780-1400 or visit our website