Should I be Worried about my Jaw Popping?

jaw popping

jaw poppingSan Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, CA

You chew, yawn, or speak and then hear it—a popping sound coming from your jaws. It can be alarming to hear this noise, and if you’re experiencing this phenomenon, the root cause could be a serious issue that requires treatment by a qualified medical professional. In this article, your San Francisco TMJ dentists at Glen Park Dental provide insight on when you should be worried about your jaw popping.

Jaw popping might be common, but it’s not normal

Anyone—no matter their age or gender—can experience jaw popping. Millions of people just like you might be having this issue, and sometimes, the root cause of a popping jaw is pretty harmless.

Some of these innocuous causes include:

  • Opening your mouth too wide when you eat or speak
  • Biting your nails
  • Frequent gum chewing
  • Biting your lip or cheek

Typically, if your jaw is popping for one of these reasons, you’re not experiencing any pain in conjunction with the popping. Stopping the sound is as simple as curtailing or managing the contributing habit.

How can I manage the pain from my popping jaw?

There are a few home remedies you can try to manage any discomfort. These include stretching exercises, alternating heat, and ice packs, refraining from eating hard or crunchy foods, or taking smaller bites when you eat. People who have popping jaws from bruxism, the clinical term for teeth grinding, often experience jaw pain, too. At Glen Park Dental, we can treat teeth grinding by providing a customized mouthguard for bruxism.

Your popping jaws might stem from TMJ disorder

A popping sound from your jaws is one of the most common symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder. Also known as TMJ disorder or TMD, this condition stems from any malfunction of the temporomandibular joint, a small, round joint on either side of the skull that controls how the jaws open and close. When the temporomandibular joint falls out of alignment, it affects the function of the jaws and can impact the surrounding nerves and musculature. The effects of the disorder can then spread throughout the body by causing headaches or neck or back pain.

Common symptoms of TMJ disorder may include:

  • Headaches that may be mistaken for migraines
  • Tension in the muscles of the face and neck
  • Uneven tooth wear
  • Teeth that are cracked or broken
  • Experiencing a limited range of motion in the jaws
  • Ear pain or ringing in the ears

TMJ disorder is a condition that is estimated to affect millions of Americans, although many with the disorder never receive a proper diagnosis. Suppose you are experiencing any combination of the symptoms of TMJ disorder. In that case, a neuromuscular dentist is the best-qualified medical professional to diagnose TMJ disorder and then treat the ailment.

TMJ Disorder Treatment in San Francisco and the Bay Area

At Glen Park Dental, we are lucky enough to have two practicing neuromuscular dentists on our staff: Dr. Kimberlee Dickerson and Dr. Carlos Longa. Both have undergone the rigorous post-graduate training and education needed to specialize in this area of dental science. An experienced neuromuscular dentist identifies if TMJ disorder is present and then works to find the ideal position of the jaws, alleviating stress in the temporomandibular joint, which also addresses any other symptoms you may be experiencing.

If you’re unsettled by popping noises from your jaw, schedule a consultation with one of the neuromuscular dentists at Glen Park Dental today by calling (415) 585-1500.

Glen Park Dental serves the oral health needs of patients in the areas of Marin, Oakland, and San Francisco, California.