Why Is My Jaw Popping?

Does your jaw feel like it’s “clicking” in and out of place every time you take a bite of your meal? Or maybe not every time. Maybe it only happens when you open wide for a loaded cheeseburger or burrito. Regardless of how  yodish.com   often it  CASRO Annual    happens, if you feel that clicking or popping sensation in your jaw, it’s time to visit an oral surgeon -- You just might have dislocated your temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

What is TMJ?

The TMJ sits in front of the lower part of the ear. You can usually feel it with your finger if you press the area while slowly opening and closing your mouth. This TMJ is a ball-and-socket joint, like the hip or shoulder, and it allows the lower jaw to move when you’re talking, eating or yawning.

How does the TMJ get dislocated?

TMJ dislocated when the condyle (the ball part of the joint) moves too far, causing it to become stuck in front of the articular eminence (a section of the bone). This prevents the condyle from moving back into place. The muscles surrounding the condyle can go into spasm and hold it in the dislocated position.

What are the symptoms?

While the severity varies from victim to victim, the symptoms typically revolve around discomfort in the TMJ area. For some, this means the “popping” motion while chewing on food. For others, the condition can mean severe pain rather than just simply discomfort.

How is the dislocation diagnosed?

First, the dentist will examine your ability to open and close your mouth. If there is any possibility of dislocation, an X-ray will be used for confirmation.

How is it treated?

It’s important for the muscles surrounding the condyle to relax in order for it to return to normal. This can be done through injected anesthesia and muscle relaxers. Once this is done, an oral surgeon can gradually guide the condyle back into its correct original position. However, for more severe cases, the patient needs to go into an actual operating room.

After treatment, most patients don’t seem to have problems pertaining to the TMJ and continue with their daily lives. However, in some rare cases, a patient might continue feeling the discomfort associated with TMJ after treatment again and again. If this happens to you, you probably will need to consult with your oral surgeon, who can tell you other options available to keep the joint in place once and for all.

Is there any way to prevent it?

Yes. If you want to keep that discomfort away, you will want to try to prevent the ligaments that keep the condyle in place. You’re probably wondering how someone can possibly prevent that, but it’s actually fairly simple. Limit your jaw’s overall range of motion. Now, this isn’t to say that you should begin talking like a ventriloquist and eating pudding for every meal. You can simply limit the TMJ motion by avoiding opening your mouth wide open while yawning and other facial expressions.

Zane Schwarzlose is a writer at Fahrenheit Marketing, an Austin web design firm. Zane is glad that his jaw doesn't click.