A popping jaw joint is not normal. It is a sign of TMJ or a joint disorder. Some patients have popping for years and then the popping subsides and then they often have pain. What has happened?
Most TMJ popping or clicking occurs when the disc, which is cushion that separates the jaw joint from the skull, is displaced. For example, when you open your mouth, more space is created in this area and the disc pops back into place. When you close the jaw joint position forces the disc back off and it pops again. This happens due to compression of the joint space which can be a result of trauma or a bad bite or orthodontic treatment as well. The scan below shows the joints and no joint space for the disc. The joints are also deteriorated due to abnormal wear.
There are other kinds of pops and clicks that can occur and sometimes, the jaw quits popping and is locked and patients cannot open fully or deviate to the side of the bad joint. Most popping leads to degeneration of the joint and disc. This can be seen on CBCT scans and MRIs as well.
TMJ dentists who are highly trained in treatment can most often help these patients. It is almost always best to recapture, get the disc back in place and allow the joint and muscles to heal and relax prior to restorative or long term care whether it be orthodontics or builidng the teeth up to the correct jaw position. There ar many ways to accomplish this.
In short, a popping noise in your jaw joint (TMJ) is not normal. If your knee popped everytime you walked would you think this is normal?
If you have questions about Houston TMJ or Houston TMJ Treatment, please feel free to contact our office, Ronald W. Konig DDS, FAGD, LVIF, 713-668-2289