Does your jaw pop every time you yawn? Do you avoid apples or chips because of painful jaw clicking? Whether it is just one side or both, this can be a warning sign that your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is crying out for attention. A healthy and well-functioning jaw should not make audible noises or produce painful symptoms. At the office of Dr. Tejal Kakade, we can diagnose and treat your clicking jaw before it gets worse.
Top Causes for a Popping Jaw
There are several possible reasons why your jaw may be popping and clicking. Here are a few common causes:
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)
This is a condition that affects the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. It can cause pain, stiffness, and popping or clicking sounds when you open or close your mouth.
Grinding or clenching your teeth can put a lot of stress on your jaw joint and cause popping or clicking sounds.
Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, including the TMJ. It can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in the jaw joint.
An injury to your jaw or the muscles around it can cause popping or clicking sounds.
Stress: Stress can cause muscle tension, including in the muscles of your jaw, which can lead to popping or clicking sounds.
If your popping or clicking jaw is causing pain or other symptoms, it’s best to come see Dr. Tejal Kakade. He can help determine the underlying cause and recommend the most appropriate treatment.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, an estimated 10 million Americans are affected by TMJ disorders. Temporomandibular joint disorder (or TMD) can cause a variety of symptoms that can vary in severity from person to person. Some common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Pain or tenderness in the jaw joint, face, neck, or shoulders
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds when you open or close your mouth
- Difficulty opening your mouth wide
- Locking of the jaw joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
- Headaches or earaches
- Swelling on one or both sides of the face
- Changes in your bite or the way your teeth fit together
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to see a dentist or doctor for an evaluation. They can help determine if you have TMJ disorder or another condition causing your symptoms, and recommend appropriate treatment.
How We Treat Jaw Symptoms in Carrollton
Depending on the underlying cause of your jaw popping or other TMJ symptoms, Dr. Kakade may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
The dentist may suggest changes to your daily habits that may be contributing to the problem, such as avoiding hard or chewy foods, applying heat or cold to the affected area, or practicing stress-reducing techniques.
Over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications may help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation in the jaw joint.
A custom-fitted mouthguard or splint may be recommended to help reposition the jaw and reduce stress on the TMJ.
Exercises and stretches may help strengthen the muscles of the jaw and reduce tension in the area.
Only in severe cases may surgery be recommended to correct structural problems in the jaw joint.
It’s important to note that treatment for jaw popping or clicking will depend on the underlying cause of the problem. A dentist can help determine the cause of your jaw popping and recommend appropriate treatment options.
Will TMJ Get Worse if Left Untreated?
Maybe your jaw clicking doesn’t bother you. Can you ignore it? If your jaw symptoms are related to TMJ disorder, things can get worse if left untreated. If the underlying cause of TMJ disorder is not addressed, the symptoms can persist or worsen over time. In some cases, the condition can lead to chronic pain, difficulty chewing or speaking, and other problems.
Additionally, if TMJ disorder is caused by bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching), ignoring the problem can also lead to further damage to the teeth and jaw. Over time, bruxism can wear down tooth enamel, cause tooth sensitivity, and even lead to tooth loss.
Therefore, if you suspect you have TMJ disorder, it’s important to make an appointment at the office of Dr. Tejal Kakade for an evaluation and treatment. Like many oral health conditions, the earlier TMD is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome is likely to be.