Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Why does my jaw hurt when I wake up in the morning?"


I'm a single 28 year old male. When I wake up in the morning the back of my jaw hurts. I cannot tell if it's my teeth or my jaw. I can't tell if it's from me grinding my teeth or maybe a cavity or my wisdom teeth coming in? My dentist never told me about my wisdom teeth coming in so maybe they're just coming in now. I'm not taking any medications, so it could be a physical thing with grinding, stress, wisdom teeth, cavities, etc.


Sounds like you have already made an excellent list of possible diagnosis and problems, at least as much as you will be able to learn from an online source without providing more information. The most likely cause of jaw pain in the morning is nocturnal bruxism, or grinding your teeth while you sleep. Your dentist, as you are aware, can often notice signs of this in your teeth and can make appropriate recommendations such as wearing a mouth guard while you sleep.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Dentists near you

It is also entirely appropriate to bring these questions up with him or her even if they do not initiate the conversation. Wisdom teeth, in general, are not a significant source of jaw pain, although it is definitely a possibility. Stress, as you mention, will often cause people to clench their jaw, which can also cause some of the same symptoms as grinding your teeth. The best thing to do with many of these new pains is to try and alter any possible causes, and then to see a health professional if the pain continues despite your best efforts. You could try avoiding caffeine, stressful situations, and other issues that could cause you to clench or grind your teeth, and then discuss this issue with your dentist if problem persists.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.