Friday, February 24, 2012

Clenching teeth, TMJ, Tooth Grinding, and Headaches - Crystal Lake Dentist

Clenching Your Teeth
Ever noticed that familiar scene at the movies when the camera goes in for a close-up on the gangster’s face during a tense moment in the film and you can see him clenching and his jaw muscles throbbing?

Clenching teeth is on the rise

He probably has headaches!
You may not know that the action of biting down on your teeth (other than chewing and swallowing) is called "clenching" or "grinding your teeth" and can cause TMJ problems and headaches.
[Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) - causes, symptoms headaches, sore jaw, ear clicking, facial pain] 

A high percentage of the headache sufferers are also ''clenchers'' but most are not even aware they had the habit. You may know you grind your teeth if your partner wakes you up when they hear you grind your teeth at night, you experience jaw pain and/or headaches, or the dentist has pointed out that you have cracked teeth or excessive tooth wear.

How do you know when you are clenching and what do you do?

Headaches related to TMJ and clenching are on the rise

You pay attention. Here are some clues to look for if you think you don’t think you are clenching but have headaches.
1) You sometimes wake up with sore teeth or jaw muscles 
2) When you relax your jaw and let you chin drop, it feels more uncomfortable than when your mouth is shut. 
3) You can’t open your mouth as wide as you should be able to. 
4) You chew gum everyday. 
5) Just touching your teeth together without biting down is enough pressure to be a problem.

If you think you are having problems with TMJ, ask us about TMJ splints.

TM splints are a simple effective treatment for TMJ and headaches in many cases

Dr. Neal answers all of your questions about Headaches, Clenching and TMJ at Crystal Lake Dental Associates.

Your comments are welcome


  1. It's such an interesting post. I really like it. You shared a really good information I appreciate it. Thank you and keep sharing.

    Michigan Dentist

  2. Thank you for the kind words John.
    Dr. Neal


About Me

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Born in the Midwest. Married with 6 children and 3 grandchildren. Attended Maine West High School, Harper Jr College, Northern Illinois University, the University of Illinois College of Dentistry. Practice in Crystal Lake, Illinois.