Bruxism: Bruxism is the clinical term for teeth grinding and clenching. Although the causes of bruxism are not really known, several factors may be involved. Stressful situations at home, school, or work, trouble sleeping, an abnormal bite, and crooked or missing teeth may contribute to the problem. Many people do not even know that they grind their teeth because it often happens during sleep. If not corrected, bruxism can lead to broken or cracked teeth, damaged restorations, and even tooth loss.
TMJ: Jaw pain, headache, and earache upon waking, as well as neck pain and jaw stiffness during the day can all be signs of temporomandibular joint disorder, a condition involving the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. With TMJ, you may experience popping and discomfort when you open and close your mouth. You may have difficulty chewing at times, and your jaw may even “lock” occasionally. Untreated TMJ can become gradually more painful and even debilitating.
Sleep-Disordered Breathing: In many cases, people who frequently wake up with dry mouth, sore throat, or headache are experiencing obstructed breathing while they sleep. This often indicates mouth breathing and is accompanied by loud, persistent snoring during the night. Some patients wake up frequently at night without even knowing. Without the proper treatment, sleep-disordered breathing can develop into something more severe, which could have serious health consequences. In children, untreated sleep-disordered breathing can have negative effects on facial and jaw development and carry on into adulthood.