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Why does my jaw pop?

Aug 28, 2023Oral health

Why does my jaw pop?

If there is a repetitive popping sound emanating from your jaw every time you talk, yawn or chew, it could be attributed to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The clicking noise emanates from each engagement of the jaw and may be accompanied by pain.

The common occurrence of jaw popping is typically attributed to the displacement of the disk within the joint located in the jaw itself, located between the skull socket and the jaw ball. Closing the jaw quietly leads to its silent popping sound, whereas opening it produces an audible cracking noise at times. The following jaw problem carries a higher degree of concern and has the potential to cause pain. Its severity can be exacerbated by past occurrences of trauma, regardless of the length of time since these incidents occurred. Alternatively, it is possible for this issue to persist over an extended period without causing discomfort until years later.


What Causes Your Jaw Clicking?

The human jaw is a sophisticated network of articulate structures, encompassing articulations, musculature, and gristle that function in unison to facilitate speech, chew, and mouth opening. Unfortunately, misalignment or damage of any individual component of your jaw may occur. This occurrence may lead to the development of a popping or clicking jaw in certain cases.

One potential issue that can occur involves the cartilage-like disk housed within the jaw joint. It may become dislodged or displaced, resulting in a subtle popping noise as the disk slips during mouth closure. Subsequently, when opening the mouth again, the disk will reposition onto the jaw’s condyle with a more pronounced popping sound. (The condyle, a spherical structure located adjacent to the ear, is an essential part of the mandible.)

A number of behaviors can escalate the probability of dislocating the disc. These include:

  • Eating hard foods
  • Chewing gum
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Clenching your jaw
  • Chewing on your nails or cheek

Various medical ailments can also lead to the occurrence of popping or clicking in your jaw. These medical conditions may include:

An injury to the jaw or face resulting from a physical incident, such as a car accident, can be debilitating. Apart from automobile mishaps, common causes of jaw fractures and dislocations include sports-related traumas, falls in one’s home, a physical assault on the face, and work-related accidents. When damage ensues, it is possible to detect symptoms such as swelling, numbness, bruising, as well as jaw popping and TMJ pain.

Cartilage damage caused by arthritis: Arthritis is a condition that damages the cartilage, leading to degenerative joint disease in various joints, including the TMJ. Appropriate diagnosis plays a pivotal role in effectively managing this ailment. In order to avoid permanent damage to the joint and slow down degenerative progression, it is crucial to make a prompt diagnosis and initiate treatment as soon as possible.

Sleep-disordered breathing: The correlation between TMJ disorder and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) cannot be overlooked. OSA is a condition where the throat muscles loosen up during sleep, causing obstruction in the airway and breathing disruptions. Consequently, the brain momentarily wakes up from rest to regulate breathing. Occasionally, the arousal response can cause teeth grinding. This continuous motion of the TMJ throughout the night, as a result of the brain waking up to resume breathing, can generate strain and compression in the jaw joint leading to TMD.

Autoimmune: Autoimmune disorders occur when your immune system erroneously targets healthy tissues and joints, leading to pain, inflammation, and occasionally, severe joint damage. The relationship between temporomandibular disorder (TMD) and autoimmune ailments like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and lupus has been established. Expert TMD treatment and well-executed medical intervention can aid in reducing long-term damage to the TMJ.

Connective tissue disease: Aberrations in tissue, bone, and cartilage often indicate connective tissue disease, which can lead to generalized joint hypermobility (GJH). This condition causes joints to exceed their typical range of motion. Studies have shown a correlation between TMD and generalized joint hypermobility (GJH). GJH has the potential to result in displacement or derangement of the TMJ, which may consequently lead to the occurrence of TMJ popping and discomfort.

In case you are experiencing a temporomandibular joint disorder, it may result in popping of your jaw. These disorders, commonly known as TMJ disorders, can be triggered by numerous factors and conditions. To determine if you have a TMJ disorder, it is recommended to evaluate other TMD symptoms.

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