How do I get my jaw to stop popping?

            Have you ever felt like your jaw feels different or weird after eating certain kinds of food such as big size ones or chewy ones that need a longer time to chew? While in general the jaw can feel somewhat discomforting at times, you might want to ask a doctor if there are popping sounds from the jaw that occur frequently. In most cases, jaw popping is not a great concern unless in certain conditions.

            Jaw popping is the common symptoms of TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder). To better understand how jaw popping happens, it would be better to know what exactly the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is. TMJ is the joint connecting the jaw to the skull. Each side of the face and in front of each ear have a TMJ. TMJ enables movements such as speaking, eating and facial expression.

            Hence, how does jaw popping occur? Jaw popping occurs as the result of overextending the jaw such as opening the mouth too wide when eating or yawning. It can also be caused by trauma such as injury to the neck due to whiplash or clenching and grinding teeth during sleep. This resulted in altered or disturbed movement of the TMJ itself. Since TMJ is lined with fibrous cartilage connective tissue which is in contrast with many of the lining of bones of other parts of the bony, this makes it easier for the connective tissues that should hold TMJ in place to be disrupted by simple movement. This then led to the dysfunction of the TMJ.

            Jaw popping is often a symptom of TMD. Beside jaw popping or clicking sound of the jaw, symptoms such as pain, discomfort, tenderness in face or jaw, difficulty opening the mouth wide and jaw that lock in open or close position, can be found. This then may lead to uncomfortable or uneven bite and ultimately difficulty eating. Aching pain in front of the ear may spread to the face. Headaches can occur especially in temples, under the eyes and sides of the lower jaw. Neck or shoulder pain and earache is also possible.

            Since symptoms can cause quite great problems, you may wonder what you can do to help the jaw stop popping. While you may not be able to immediately put a stop on it, there are ways you can help to relieve symptoms. First and foremost, you can try using pain relief medications and may ask for muscle relaxants medicine. Even so, there is no medication that is deemed to be effective for TMD. Next, is to do things to help improve symptoms such eating soft textured food and cutting all food into small pieces before eating it. You should avoid eating hard or crunchy food as it can worsen the jaw popping. You may want to try wearing a mouthguard while sleeping to prevent jaw clenching or teeth grinding. You should always avoid opening your mouth wide and clenching your jaw. If you like chewing gum, you may want to avoid that too. In those with stress-induced teeth grinding or jaw clenching, they might want to try practice stress management such as meditation or deep-breathing exercises. Jaw popping should go away on its own without any treatment.

            Most cases of jaw popping do improve over time, with only few may need surgery to tackle the issue. Although most cases of jaw popping are caused by behaviour, those with underlying disease may need to take extra steps in stopping the jaw from popping. For example, arthritis that causes TMJ problems due to the destruction of the cartilage tissue, needs to get arthritis in control first. Another example is a person with malocclusion teeth that cause misalignment of the jaws and mouth. Getting professional orthodontic treatment should fix this issue. If your jaw popped out of place, this should be a serious sign to get urgent medical advice and to not attempt popping the jaw back to its own place on your own. Other serious signs of jaw pops that need medical attention are jaw pain or tenderness that does not go away, you are unable to close the jaw completely or the jaw pops when chewing.

            It can be concluded that jaw popping is in general a temporary condition. It is often symptoms of temporomandibular joint dysfunction. It should gradually begin as time goes by with home treatment and lifestyle changes. Popping your jaw when yawning or opening your mouth really wide without pain should not be a concern. However, jaw popping that is accompanied with pain or other symptoms, should get checked by a doctor. Since some cases of jaw popping are caused by underlying health problems, it is important to address the issue as to prevent other complications from happening. Treating the core underlying problems whole eventually solve the jaw popping. It is worth noting that some popping jaws even without pain such as popping jaws when eating or speaking, should warrant a doctor’s appointment.

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