Jaws that pop and click when the mouth moves can lead to pain in the jaw, head and neck aches and difficulties when moving the mouth. Jaw clicking can be annoying, but it is indicating that a more serious problem, such as Temporomandibular Disorder (TMJ) could be occurring.
Causes of Clicking Jaws
The jaw operates as a hinge. The jaw muscles, or hinges open and close the mouth. When these muscles becomes stretched or are suffering from an injury the top and bottom jaw can open and close at a different rate. This causes the jaw to click or pop, and since the jaw joints are near the ear the person can feel and hear the clicking sound. Some people think that their jaw has become dislocated, but this is not the case.
There are several causes of clicking and popping jaws.
•Bruxism – when a person grinds their teeth while sleeping, or clenches the jaw tightly, the jaw muscles can be pulled. This can lead to the clicking and popping sound.
•Chewing gum – constantly chewing gum or chewing tough foods such as hard taffy can also stretch the jaw muscles resulting in clicking jaws when eating or talking.
•Trauma to jaw – if a person has an impact to the face it can damage the mandibular, or jaw muscle.
•Stress – a person tightening their jaw or facial muscles, or clenching their teeth during stressful times can result in sore jaws and stretched muscles.
•Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis can settle in the jaw muscles
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
The clicking and popping of the jaw can be a sign of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). It can result in pain in the face, neck, and jaw and shoulder area when eating, talking or opening the mouth. Chewing can be difficult and there can be swelling on one side of the face.
Treatment depends on an accurate diagnosis being made by experienced dental professionals. Treatment can be as simple as a bite appliance or as serious as restorative or orthodontic treatments. A person suffering from popping and clicking of the jaws should seek assistance at www.cobbdentistry.net/procedures/tmj.aspx