Experiencing Jaw Clicking or Popping?
A clicking or popping in the jaw isn’t cause for concern if there are no other symptoms, however, it could be a sign of temporomandibular disorder (TMD), also known as TMJ disorder.
If your jaw clicks or pops when you open your mouth too wide to yawn or eat, but you have no pain, it may just be that you’re putting a strain on a very complex joint.
The temporomandibular joint has a greater range of movement than other joints in the body to allow you to speak, eat and yawn, and although it’s very durable, problems can arise from trauma or overuse.
Clicking or popping of the jaw, which you can clearly hear due to its close proximity to your ears, is often a sign of TMJ disorder and is often accompanied by an ache or pain.
If the only symptom you experience is clicking or popping, you may still have TMJ disorder and it’s wise to monitor it and seek professional advice if symptoms worsen.
However, many people experience a range of symptoms along with jaw clicking such as aching muscles in the face which can extend to the neck, earache, and difficulty opening the jaw.
The Causes of TMJ Disorder
The temporomandibular joint can move up and down as well as side to side, and throughout the course of a single day, it does a lot of work.
The causes of TMJ disorder are often unknown but can be due to teeth grinding and clenching, during the day and while you’re asleep.
Women also have a higher incidence of the disorder because their hormones can affect the joint.
If your teeth are out of alignment and you clench and grind them a lot, it can cause pain in the facial muscles that control the temporomandibular joint, which, in turn, can cause headaches on waking.
Other Possible Causes
Trauma, such as a broken or dislocated jaw, can cause many of the symptoms of TMJ disorder, including popping and clicking of the joint.
Sleep apnoea, where the airways are obstructed during sleep and the person stops breathing many times a night, can also cause jaw clicking.
Arthritis can affect the jaw joint and breakdown the cartilage, which can cause clicking and popping when the joint is moved.
Malocclusion of the teeth in the form of an overbite or an underbite can cause the temporomandibular joint to become misaligned and click or pop.
Seek Professional Help
If your jaw clicking or popping is causing you pain, and you suspect you might have some form of TMJ disorder, it’s important to seek professional help from someone who has a special interest in TMD and TMJ syndrome.
You’ll have your symptoms assessed and be offered an effective treatment to relieve the pain and discomfort, preventing the condition from becoming worse.
Premium Dental Care
At The Dental Boutique, we know you value excellence and premium care in a comprehensive range of general, cosmetic and specialist dentistry services.
Discover excellence in everything we do by calling us on 07 5591 2262 or contacting us online and one of our friendly, professional team members will connect with you to discuss your dental challenges and goals.