What Does it Mean if My Jaw Is Popping?

If your jaw is popping or making grating sounds when you eat, chew, or speak…. should you be concerned?  Yes.  If your knee popped every time you walked, would you be concerned?

Truly incredible how this “top of the block” on our bodies can be so complex and affect patient’s lives and well-being.

A clicking/popping/grating jaw is most likely a problem with your jaw joint, called the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ).  TMJ is often referred to as a dysfunction of the jaw joint which can cause a host of problems and symptoms.

Before we discuss these, consider some issues that cause TMJ dysfunction:

*Misaligned Bite


*Mouth breathing

*Airway issues and sleep apnea



* Neck issues

*Nerve/muscle issues

Symptoms of TMJ can include:

*Jaw pain

*Ear pain

*Facial pain

*Difficulty chewing and speaking

*Neck pain

*Shoulder pain

*Facial asymmetry

*Clicking and popping with or without pain

Dr. Konig whose practice has special interests in TMJ and Complex Cosmetic Dentistry explains, “TMJ highly overlooked and often misdiagnosed.  CBCT scan evaluation helps confirm and clinical diagnosis.  No TMJ treatment should be done without this, invaluable. How would you feel if your orthopedic treated your knee without any films or MRI?”

Most interestingly, many dentists try to treat this issue with a removable “splint” and often simply trying to adjust the bite so all the teeth meet together and even bandage this with Botox.  These treatments will not correct the popping in most cases as adjusted the bite down when the joints are already pushing the disc that pops off will not help and can make this worse.  Many patients also feel that a nightguard also makes this worse.

Most of the time, re-aligning the jaw and facial muscles non-surgically can help “recapture” the disc and re-align the jaw, facial muscles and many times correct facial asymmetry and improve the airway and sleep disordered breathing.

If you have questions regarding Houston TMJ, Facial Pain, Non-surgical TMJ treatment, or Airway Dentistry, please feel free to contact our office, Ronald W. Konig DDS, FAGD, LVIF, FIAPA, 713-668-2289.

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