Recurring Jaw Pain

Have any of you who work in front of a computer ever had a case of recurring jaw pain? My jaw has been sore, off and on, for the past two weeks. Sometimes my teeth hurt too. It seems worst in the morning, or during stressful periods.

I’m wondering if it is some kind of carpal-tunnel syndrome. There is also a history of TMJ in my family. Weird. I’m a very healthy s.o.b, so this has been puzzling.

Maybe it will all go away next week when I sit on the beach in KenTing for a few days.



Dr. Reinhold is in:

You can get a night guard made here from a dentist for NT$5,000 to NT$10,000, or for US$30 online in a do-it-yourself kit:

What is bruxism? Bruxism (pronounced BRUK-sizm) is the technical term for forcible grinding and clenching of the teeth. It usually happens at night, during sleep, although some people grind their teeth during the day as well. People who suffer from bruxism may also bite their fingernails or pencils, or chew the insides of their cheeks.

How common is bruxism? About half of US adults grind their teeth at night, and about 20% (over 40 million people) grind their teeth in a destructive way. Most people who grind their teeth are over 25 years old, and the disorder affects women and men about equally. Children also grind their teeth, but usually in response to discomfort caused by colds, ear infections or allergies. Most cases of bruxism in children resolve on their own without causing tooth damage or other problems.

What causes bruxism? Bruxism can have a variety of causes, but the most common are probably emotional factors such as daytime stress, anxiety, anger, pain and frustration. Certain sleep disorders can trigger grinding of the teeth as well. People who are competitive, aggressive, and rushed may also be at greater risk for bruxism. Lastly, alcohol and some types of medications may worsen tooth grinding.

Why bruxism can be a serious problem: When you chew your food, your deliver a force of about 175 pounds per square inch (psi) to your teeth. But when you grind your teeth at night, there’s no food to absorb the impact, so the force on your teeth can be 300 psi or more. That’s enough to cause permanent damage to your teeth, including cracked and chipped enamel, hairline fractures, and even wearing down of the teeth to the gumline. The enamel may become so worn that the inside of the tooth (called the dentin) is exposed. If bruxism isn’t treated, it can lead to gum damage, loss of both natural teeth and restorations, and other more complicated jaw-related disorders (such as temporomandibular joint disorders). Over time, your teeth may become sensitive due to exposed dentin, and your jaws may even move out of proper balance. Grinding your teeth can also cause a wide variety of other symptoms including soreness and fatigue in your jaw and facial muscles, and earaches or headaches-especially when you wake up in the morning. There is no known cure for bruxism. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce or stop your grinding and even ways to limit further damage and pain due to grinding.

I think Wolf is right. I had this all my adult life until I stopped working in offices. Now it is going away. If your jaw is popping, you definitely have this.

Aside from wearing the night guard thingy, how can you stop or reduce the grinding?

Some dentists suggest bio-feedback and other relaxation techniques.
They say that after a couple of nights with a night guard in, you don’t even notice it.

Reduce stress and exercise more. Night guard is good for short term, but you are only treating a symptom.

I exercise almost every day, and though I’m busy, I really enjoy life. I think this is just a temporary thing. A week on the beach in KenTing with a hottie in a string bikini should solve my problem.

Thanks for the advice proferred, doctors.

The week on the beach solved the problem. No more jaw pain.