Grinding teeth and often-associated jaw problems (temporomandibular disorder TMD or TMJ) can make your face and jaw ache and even break teeth. But though the causes of bruxism (doc talk for teeth grinding) and TMD are not known, a major new study may help. Turns out that people with TMD have heightened pain sensitivity, and may have genetic predispositions that increase their stress response and inflammatory reactions. That may be why TMD is associated with fibromyalgia, headaches and chronic back pain.
The good news is that the best remedies usually are the simplest. (Try to avoid surgery, implants and bite or jaw realignments as they often cause more problems than they solve.)
Use a dental night guard to prevent teeth grinding and jaw clenching.
Use hot and cold compresses to ease pain.
NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, reduce inflammation.
Try progressive relaxation: Start at your feet and move up your body, tensing each muscle group for seven to 10 seconds; then releasing it quickly, resting for 15 seconds; then progress to the next muscle group and repeat.
Breathe evenly and deeply. If it hurts to tense any area, skip it.