Why Is My Jaw Sore When I Wake Up?

If you wake up suffering from jaw pain, you aren’t alone. An estimated 10 percent of adults wake up with tension in the jaw. Facial pain, neck tension, and headaches upon waking can be due to a number of causes. Bruxism, or chronic teeth clenching, is often the culprit. If you’re curious about why your jaw may be hurting and what you can do about it, we have some important information that may help.

man holding his jaw in pain


It’s common to clench teeth at night, especially if you’re experiencing high stress during waking hours. If this clenching becomes habitual, it can cause harm to the teeth, gums, and jaw over time. This chronic teeth grinding is called bruxism. It can lead to chipped teeth, receding gums, and lingering jaw pain.

Sleep Apnea

Bruxism can be triggered by sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is the cessation of breathing during resting hours. This is caused by the muscles in the back of the throat relaxing too much, obstructing the pathway of air. The result is loud snoring and pauses in breathing, and can lead to feelings of sleepiness during the day and other health problems. Clenching of the teeth is common for those with sleep apnea.


Temporomandibular jaw dysfunction, or TMD, is a chronic affliction of pain in the jaw. Symptoms associated with TMD are jaw pain, neck pain, headaches, and a clicking or popping sound that comes from the jaw. The temporomandibular joint is where the skull attaches to the jaw bone. There is no one cause of TMD, but misalignment of the teeth, stress, arthritis, and bruxism can often be included.

What to Do About Jaw Pain

Call us if you are experiencing jaw pain upon waking or any of the above mentioned symptoms. Whether you’re suffering from TMD, bruxism, or sleep apnea, we can help you find a solution. We can provide you a custom-fitted nightguard to protect your teeth and prevent you from clenching at night. We can also help identify lifestyle changes that will reduce pain and help you feel like yourself again. We don’t want you to suffer with pain. Your teeth and gums may be adversely affected if you allow the problem to continue. Call us today so we can help!


Three Creek Dentistry