Why Your Jaw is Sore When You Wake Up

Cartoon of a woman suffering from TMD with a closeup of the temporomandibular joint.
Image by Authority Dental under CC 2.0

Waking up with a sore jaw is never a good way to start your day. If you are regularly experiencing jaw pain in the mornings, it can be extremely uncomfortable and disruptive. Here are a few reasons you might be waking up with jaw pain and how to mitigate it.


Bruxism is the medical term for grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw. It often occurs at nighttime when you’re asleep and you don’t even realize you’re doing it. If your jaw soreness is at its worst in the mornings and becomes less noticeable as the day goes on, bruxism is the likeliest culprit.


The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint that connects your jaw to your cheekbones. When the joint becomes inflamed or hurt, it’s called temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD. Bruxism commonly leads to TMD because the pressure of clenching or grinding your teeth puts excess force on the jaw joint.

Symptoms of TMD

Jaw pain is one of the main symptoms of TMD. Other indicators include regular headaches and clicking noises when you open and close your mouth. You might even experience lockjaw when you yawn or open your mouth too wide.

Available Treatments

Anxiety or stress are the most common underlying causes of bruxism. So if you find yourself waking up with jaw pain, try introducing some stress-relieving elements into your nighttime routine, like a nice cup of chamomile tea or a short meditation practice.

You can also get a custom-made night guard that serves as a barrier between your upper and lower teeth, alleviating the pressure put on your jaw joint. Wearing your guard every night will make a big difference when it comes to jaw pain.

Custom Night Guards in Eden Prairie, MN

Schedule your appointment at Prairie Dental Group to learn more about getting a custom night guard to combat jaw soreness. We offer several types of financial options to make sure that you are able to get the high-quality dental care that you deserve. Call today!

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