If “snap,” “crackle” and “pop” aren’t originating from your cereal, it may be from your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). TMJ complications impact over 10 million people, according to the National Institute of Craniofacial Research (NICR), and it’s more of a concern for women than men.
Although it might be worrying, you can successfully figure out if your clicking jaw is simply a temporary inconvenience or a sign of a more advanced temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
How the TMJ Works
The temporomandibular joint can move side to side, in addition to backward and forward, making it one of the most complicated joints in your body. Connecting your lower jaw to the temporal bones at the side of your head, inning accordance with the Merck Handbook, the joint permits you the variety of motion had to speak, yawn and chew food. Facial muscles attached to this joint control these movements, while a soft cartilage disc within the joint socket soaks up huge quantities of pressure so no single movement does any damage.
What Causes Jaw Clicking and Popping
Trauma, dislocation or a displaced disc can all add to an audible jaw condition, however the specific reason for jaw clicking and popping is often unknown. Nevertheless, clenching and grinding can cause pain and tightness in the facial muscles – specifically if the teeth are not in alignment – whereas various types of arthritis can affect the joint itself. Researchers found that women might be more vulnerable to jaw clicking in part because the collagen holding the disk in the socket is anatomically different in women. Female hormonal agents might have an effect on the joint, also.
Symptoms of Jaw Clicking and Popping
The most typical symptom of TMD is pain in the joint itself or the chewing muscles that attach to it. Other signs include locking of the jaw or limited motion, changes in the method your teeth come together and recurring headaches. A painful grinding or popping in your joint can be a caution, of course, however a clicking sound in your jaw– or minimal motion “without pain”– isn’t always an indication of a TMJ problem, nor does it need treatment.
For most people, symptoms are mild and frequently disappear spontaneously. For others, the pain can be persistent and debilitating. Whenever you experience a sign of TMD, see your dental expert as quickly as you can.
How to Detect the Problem?
These signs are what your dental expert thinks about when taking a comprehensive dental and medical history. He or she will request for specifics concerning your symptoms, and perform a careful evaluation that consists of observing the movement of your jaw and feeling for tightness or inflammation in the facial muscles, jaw popping or clicking time and related signs. A panoramic X-ray can likewise assist expose or dismiss a severe joint concern. Although, if more detail is required, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a cat scan (CT) might be necessary. Your dental expert is ultimately aiming to omit other causes of jaw clicking and popping before making a diagnosis. These include sinus infections, toothaches, earaches, arthritis and even some neurological conditions.
Treatment for Jaw Clicking and Popping
The NICR highly recommends conservative, nonsurgical treatments for jaw clicking/popping. Custom bite guards or splints, made to support your bite, are among the most common solutions. Because most cases of TMD are temporary in nature, taking the following steps to ease pain may be simply the thing:
- Eat soft foods.
- Alternate applying ice and wet heat on your joint.
- Avoid excessive jaw motions– broad yawning, chewing gum or taking big bites of high sandwiches.
- Practice stress-reducing strategies.
- Follow gentle extending exercises, as suggested by your dental expert or physical therapist.
- Use over the counter pain or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications as directed by your dentist or doctor.
Keeping Your TMJ Healthy
Good oral health indicates brushing your teeth with fluoride tooth paste, and seeing your dental expert regularly for cleansings. Remember that not all jaw pain comes from overextension; you can keep your TM joint in good health by avoiding extreme jaw movements or biting down on tough objects, too. If you clench or grind your teeth at night, using a mouth guard while you sleep can likewise assist prevent symptoms of TMD, especially jaw clicking and popping.
And keep in mind, if you do experience a clicking jaw – without any pain – it’s most likely not TMD. However it’s still a good idea to mention your noisy jaw at your next examination.