307 Grafton St #203, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

Stiff, Achy Jaw? Find Out Why!

Do you wake up every morning with a stiff and achy jaw? You may clench and grind while you sleep (brux), or you may be suffering from a TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder. Not only can TMJ disorders be caused by bruxing, bruxing can also be a symptom of a TMJ. Bruxing is much easier to diagnose because other people may actually hear you doing it, and a major symptom is tooth wear. TMJ disorders are a bit more difficult to diagnose. If you have a stiff and achy jaw, find out why.


Bruxism is the chronic grinding and clenching of your teeth. In many cases, it happens mostly at night so you may be totally unaware that you brux. Some people brux during the day, as well, but are unaware of it just the same. Symptoms of bruxing include:

  • Sore or stiff jaw
  • Tired, achy, or tight jaw muscles
  • Headache, and/ or achy neck and shoulders
  • Flattened teeth or a reversed smile line
  • Fractures or chipped teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Pain in the ear, or the feeling of a plugged ear

TMJ Disorder

Your temporomandibular joints are the jaw joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull. You can feel them in front of your ears when you open your mouth. A TMJ disorder results when something goes wrong with the cartilage or joints. Some symptoms include:

  • Tender or painful jaw
  • Pain in your ear, or a plugged sensation
  • Stiff jaw
  • Locking jaw
  • Clicking or grinding noises in your jaw

The Good News Is…

The good news is that there is treatment available. Your dentist can provide you with a non-invasive, custom-made oral appliance that you only wear at night. This nightguard will ease your symptoms, protect your teeth, and relieve the pressure on your jaw joints.


At Modern Dentistry of Shrewsbury, our doctors and team look forward to providing you with the beautiful, healthy smile you desire through our wide array of dental services. Contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Pizzi, Dr. Mehdi, and colleagues by calling our office at (508) 842-8838. Located in Shrewsbury, MA, we proudly welcome patients from Worcester, North and South Grafton, Westborough, Southborough, Northborough, Boylston, Hopkinton, Millbury, and all surrounding communities.