Jaw popping is a common symptom of a problem with your temporomandibular joints, which are on either side of your skull and give your jaw the ability to open, close, and move from side to side. However, when one or both joints aren’t working as they should, you can experience jaw popping, which can be painful or can happen without discomfort.
Symptoms of jaw popping may include pain in your face or jaw, or even difficulty opening your mouth all the way. You could also have swelling in your face, or experience what may feel like a toothache or an earache . For some, jaw popping simply happens when talking or chewing, which can be frustrating.
Reasons for Jaw Popping
While jaw popping is most often a symptom of a temporomandibular joint disorder, often referred to as TMJ, you can also experience jaw popping if you have bad habits, such as biting your fingernails, chewing gum frequently, or grinding your teeth .
All of these habits can cause uncomfortable jaw popping because they can contribute to unusual wear on your jaw joints. Not everyone will experience discomfort with their jaw popping, but if you experience pain with jaw popping, your dentist can help you find the treatment that’s right for you.
Talking to your dentist about your jaw popping is a good idea whether or not you experience discomfort because this symptom could be the result of another condition such as arthritis, an improper bite, or even a tumor, so it’s always worth getting checked out.
What Can You Do?
If your jaw popping is caused by an issue with one of your temporomandibular joints, your dentist can recommend treatment based on your condition. You may need physical therapy, or you could benefit from a temporary oral device called a dental splint to reposition the jaw and relieve inflammation .
However, if your jaw popping is caused by a lifestyle habit, your dentist will suggest ways to curb these habits, such as reducing how frequently you chew gum. If you suffer from teeth grinding, your dentist can talk with you about treatment options such as physical therapy, stress reduction, and wearing a nightly mouthguard.
Fortunately, whether your jaw popping is causing discomfort or is merely annoying, you have options for treating it. Your dentist can help you determine the cause of your jaw popping and what you can do about it. Fortunately, most treatments are minimally invasive, and many are lifestyle changes you may be able to make to improve the condition.
Do you experience jaw popping that’s impacting your daily life? Schedule an appointment with your experienced dentist today to talk about what you can do to help alleviate this frustrating oral health symptom!