Is it Normal for My Jaw to Pop When Chewing?
When people discuss the noises that their jaw makes, clicks and pops when chewing, they are referring to the “TMJ” – the temporomandibular joint or “jaw joint.” As dentists, we refer to the jaw joint as the TMJ, and we label problems with the TMJ as “TMD” – temporomandibular disorders.
Jaw Popping and Clicks
What defines joint noises will differ from person to person. Some people will sense or feel pops while other clicks. If you have had a long history of jaw noises and have had NO changes to your bite, then most likely it will not be a problem. However, if you’ve noticed any changes in your bite, jaw noises becoming more frequent or if there is now pain or discomfort, an immediate evaluation is indicated.
Recent Onset of Jaw Popping
If, however, you have acute or recent onset of jaw popping, clicking or even “crunching” noises, then these signs are more indicative of a possible problem with the joint. It’s also possible that you might have strained the jaw muscles (as you would sprain a knee or an ankle) opening wide to eat a large sandwich or from keeping your mouth open for a long time during dental treatment. Whatever the reason, any recent changes to your jaw joint and/or bite should be evaluated immediately by a dentist trained in TMJ.
Jaw Popping Treatments
Joint noises are never truly normal and whether you have a recent onset or have dealt with joint noises long term, you should be seen by a qualified professional such as Dr. James Segulyev to establish that your TMJ is functioning normally or make a diagnosis and treatment plan if there is a sign of a problem. If it is a muscle spasm, then the treatment of jaw popping is similar to what It would be for any strained muscle. If, however, there is another reason for your TMD, other treatment options such as specialized mouth guards can often help.
A TMJ Expert
Please call or click on the request an appointment button above with Dr. Segulyev, The Burbank Dentist so we can help answer your TMJ questions. Our office treats TMJ patients from around the Burbank, Glendale area as well as the Greater Los Angeles area.