If your jaw is popping and it’s not from the cereal or nuts you’re eating, then it can be from your temporomandibular joint or TMJ. Sadly, more than 10 million people in the US are suffering from TMJ complications. It can be alarming sometimes. However, some indications can help you identify if it’s a temporomandibular joint disorder.
Jaw popping can be caused by trauma or a displaced disc. Unfortunately, the exact cause is still unknown. When you grind or clench your jaw at night, it causes pain in the facial muscles. If you have a type of arthritis, it can also affect the joint.
Researchers believe that women are more at risk to develop TMD because the collagen that holds the socket’s disk is different in women than in men. Furthermore, female hormones may also affect the joint.
One of the most common symptoms of TMD is jaw popping. You’ll also feel pain in the joint or the chewing muscles attaching to it.
Jaw locking or having restricted movement can also be caused by TMD. If there are changes in how your teeth come together, then they could be a symptom of this disorder.
It’s also a warning if you experience painful grinding in the joint. However, it is vital to remember that if you hear a clicking sound in your jaw without pain, it may not be a TMJ problem. Still, it’s important to talk to your dentist about it.
Other symptoms are mild and disappear immediately. However, for some patients, the pain can be debilitating that it already affects their everyday activities. If you experience any of those signs and symptoms, make sure that you talk to your dentist about it ASAP.
Take note of these signs because they’re vital to assist your dentist in giving you a proper diagnosis. When talking to your doctor about your condition, he will ask for specific details and perform an examination. At Southwest Oral Surgery we’ll observe your jaw movement and the feeling of tightness in the facial muscles.
To rule out any joint issues, a panoramic x-ray may be requested. If he needs more details, you may need to undergo a cat scan or an MRI. Before he makes a diagnosis, he wants to disregard other causes of those symptoms. Some of those symptoms are also associated with toothaches, earaches, and sinus infections. In fact, some neurological conditions may present those symptoms mentioned above.
Jaw popping can be painful to some patients. To treat it, non-surgical treatment is always necessary. The use of bite guard is a standard remedy.
In some cases, TMD is just temporary. If this is your case, you may need to eat soft foods and avoid meaty food options, like steak or chicken.
Apply ice on your joint to relieve pain. It’s also advisable to avoid wide yawning, taking big bites and other excessive jaw movements as they can worsen your condition.
Also, try stress-reducing techniques to help you stop teeth grinding at night that can lead to jaw popping.