Clenching your jaw is an action that a lot of people take for granted and does very often very noticing it. At its core, it is not very harmful in the immediate sense though can cause many problems down the line if it happens too often and gets worse.
You usually clench your jaw when you are experiencing bouts of anxiety, are under increasing stress, are frustrated or are angry. You will probably notice it happening if you are in an unpleasant argument with someone. Because it is so hard to consciously take note of, it can become a serious problem while going unnoticed.
Here are the basics of jaw clenching, and what it can do when left unchecked:
When I Wake Up…
Jaw clenching very often happens during the night, when you are fast asleep. You will find the biggest hints that you are clenching your teeth when you sleep, the moment you wake up. The first thing you will notice as you rise from sweet slumber is the general wear and tear of your mouth. Due to the excessive force that your jaw had to endure during the night, it probably feels very sore, and you will feel the muscles aching. You might feel that your teeth are a little sensitive and you might have a difficult time getting your jaw to move normally.
If you sleep with another person close by, then there is a chance that they will report that you have been grinding your teeth throughout the night. They can hear it.
Sleep Problems, Or Lack Thereof
As mentioned above, a lot of the jaw clenching happens during the night as you are asleep. Due to the disturbances of clenching your teeth and overworking your jaw, you might wake up more tired than usual, as you were not able to get the full rest that you were expecting.
Another one of the more obvious jaw clenching symptoms is when you notice that your teeth are quite worn out. This will include a couple of chips, heightened sensitivity and slight deterioration of the gums. Later on, you might notice that your teeth have become somewhat weaker.
Neck, Ears, And Headaches
The biggest problem with having jaw problems is that there are nerves in the general area that are connected to other places in your head and even down to your shoulders. Should your clenching become worse, you might experience an aching in the neck because of the strain. Your ears might start ringing, and you might suffer chronic headaches. For as long as you ignore these jaw clenching symptoms, they can only become much worse, and will only let up after quick fixes, and only completely once you get sufficient medical attention.
It can progressively get worse to the point that the joint in your jaw will begin to have problems, which cause even more complications that will require medical attention. The best way to deal with clenching your jaw is to be as conscious as possible about it, take notice if you’re doing it, and develop the discipline to stop.