The Relationship Between Teeth Grinding and Headaches

October 30, 2023

Have you ever thought about what happens while you are asleep? Well, the obvious ones, like snoring, talking, and sleepwalking, are nothing to be worried about, but teeth grinding is often a cause of concern. If you have been having constant or episodic throbbing headaches lately, excessive teeth clenching may be a cause. Let’s dig into more details.

How do Teeth Grinding and Clenching Contribute to a Headache?

Our jaws have an innate power to exert and hold around 70 pounds of force per square inch. However, when we grind teeth intentionally, this force doubles to 140 pounds, and at night, it can increase to a whopping 700 pounds. Such intensity puts strain on your TMJ and its supporting muscles, leading to throbbing headaches.

Common Signs To Look Out For

No matter the reason for teeth grinding during sleep, you will experience one or a combination of these signs:

  1. Waking up every morning with a throbbing headache.
  2. Tenderness near your jaw.
  3. Migraines that do not respond to other treatments.
  4. Stiffness of neck in the morning.
  5. Ear pain.
  6. Sinus pressure.
  7. Teeth sensitivity.
  8. Chipped or cracked molars.

How Can A Dentist Help In This Situation?

You should address bruxism, especially when it is a major source of painful headaches. Here’s how your dentist can help you:

  1. Establish The Root Cause Of Your Headache: A thorough dental exam is the only way by which the main source of headache and jaw pain can be assessed.
  2. Teeth Examination for Damage Evaluation: On the visit day, dentists look for signs of wear and tear that are common with teeth grinding, allowing them to determine how far the damage has gone.
  3. Assess TMJ Functioning: They also check the jaw’s functionality. Dentists often listen for any popping or clicking sounds and observe any sore muscles.

Once the root cause of your headache is determined to be bruxism, they will fix you up with a mouthguard.

Can a Mouthguard Help with Bruxism Headaches?

You can alleviate throbbing pain in your head due to bruxism with a custom-fit mouthguard. While it cannot prevent the urge to grind teeth while you sleep, rather it safeguards them from damage.

When properly fitted, the mouthguard acts as a barrier between your upper and lower teeth, cushioning the jaw muscles during clenching. In addition to that, they also prevent the deterioration of your enamel, or any dental work is done.

How to Sleep with a Mouthguard On?

Are you also one of those who are worrying about sleeping snugly or comfortably with a mouthguard on? If yes, then know this – While it may not feel natural at first; however, using it is worth the adjustment.

According to The American Sleep Association, you must give 4-6 weeks to your mouthguard so that it can become a part of your bedtime routine. Placing it right before sleep can help you associate it with bedtime and relieve the headache that comes the next morning due to teeth grinding.

Closing Note

Teeth grinding is a major source of morning headaches, but with the help of a custom-fitted mouthguard made by our expert, Dr. Sanjay Kumar Vanjarapu, who has extensive training from UCLA, you can find relief. At Smile Designs Dentistry, we make sure your oral health stays free of complications. If you wish to learn more about how we can help, contact us at any of the following locations:

  • Manteca Location: 295 Spreckels Ave, Manteca, CA 95336 Contact Number: (209) 780-4777
  • Pleasanton Location: 1400 Santa Rita Rd, Suite# D, Pleasanton, CA 94566 Contact Number: (925) 234-4421



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