It started as an annoying popping sound and maybe now it is accompanied by pain. What do you do when your jaw is popping and clicking? Should you call a dentist? It depends on what is causing the popping, whether there is pain and how long you’ve had the problem. Learn more about how to assess your jaw pop or click below.
Why is My Jaw Popping?
Jaw popping is most often displacement of the disk inside of the jaw joint itself, between the ball of the jaw and the socket of the skull. It pops quietly when you’re closing the jaw and may even crack loudly when you go to open your mouth again. This is the more concerning jaw problem, and it may be painful. It can be made worse from a history of trauma, even many years ago. It can also be something that has gone on for a really long time, but didn’t “bother” or “hurt” you until many years go by.
Should I Call a Dentist if My Jaw Is Popping?
If you have any history of childhood trauma at any age, you should call your dentist. That includes a fall or trauma from sledding, falling off of the couch, sports incidents, car accidents, etc. An injury that happened years ago can still have effects today.
If you haven’t had any sort of trauma that you can remember, your jaw popping and clicking may resolve on its own. If it’s not painful and you’re not too concerned, you can wait two or three weeks and see if it will heal and stop. To promote healing, you may want to consider eating food that requires less chewing. Try liquid foods like applesauce, oatmeal, and broths.
If the jaw popping is painful, or your jaw is painful or swollen even when you’re not using it, then you should talk to your dentist. You could have a TMJ disorder, which is an issue that affects the jaw joint and surrounding muscles and ligaments. These can heal on their own, but they can also become more serious over time. Sometimes, a TMJ disorder is a sign of bruxism (or jaw clenching), or even sleep-disordered breathing. If you suspect you have a TMJ disorder, it is wise to talk to a dentist.
What If My Jaw Popping or Clicking Isn’t Painful, But Keeps Coming Back?
Multiple incidents of a clicking jaw are a good cause to talk to your dentist. Ultimately, even if there is no pain and this is your first jaw-popping incident, if you’re worried about your jaw popping, you should call your dentist or dentist and ask him or her if it is time for you to make an appointment. They know your personal medical history and can help you make the right decision for you.
What Can Be Done for Popping Jaws?
While your dentist may just recommend rest at first, that is far from your only option. There are effective treatments for jaw popping, including dental splints, surgery and myofunctional therapy.
Schedule a consultation or virtual appointment with Dr. Liz Turner at the Bloom Center for Sleep & Airway Health. She will assess your unique situation and provide you with a customized treatment plan.
Want to learn more about TMJ therapy? Visit this page here.