Does your jaw pop every time you open your mouth to take a bite of food? Jaw popping 一 or creaking, clicking, or snapping 一 is a red flag that something’s not right with your jaw. But if your jaw pops, your first concern may simply be to stop the popping.
Dr. Hinna Chaudhry encourages anyone experiencing jaw pain to visit us at Ardsley Dental Spa in Ardsley, New York. We can identify and treat the cause of your discomfort. In the meantime, here are some tips to help you keep your jaw from popping.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is a malfunction with your TMJ, a complex hinge joint that uses your jaw muscles and nerves to help you speak, chew, and yawn.
Unfortunately, TMJ disorder 一 which has a variety of causes, such as bruxism, excessive gum chewing, and posture 一 can cause discomfort when eating, clicking noises, and the telltale jaw popping.
At-home treatment can help alleviate jaw pain and keep your jaw from popping.
Research shows that jaw exercises can help reduce discomfort and improve your jaw’s range of motion. The American Academy of Family Physicians offers a list of jaw exercises that reduce jaw popping and pain.
This list includes goldfish exercises, relaxed jaw exercises, resisted opening/closing, and forward and side-to-side exercises.
You can also reduce tension and reduce popping by gently massaging your jaw.
Both heat and cold therapy can provide relief for sore jaw muscles. If your jaw pops, you might consider a warm compress to help relax your muscles. If your jaw is sore, cold therapy can help reduce inflammation and pain.
Popping and clicking are often accompanied by pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help temporarily reduce inflammation and discomfort.
Hard or chewy foods 一 such as steak, apples, crusty bread, nuts, or even thick sandwiches on sturdy rolls 一 can force you to apply extra pressure on your jaw when biting. This can make popping and clicking worse.
If your jaw pops, chewing gum can make your symptoms worse.
When you have a TMJ disorder flare-up, stick with softer foods, such as smoothies, soup, potatoes (boiled or mashed), scrambled eggs, and fish.
Bruxism is the unintentional teeth grinding or jaw clenching that can happen when you’re awake or asleep. Sleep bruxism can be particularly hard on your jaw because you can exert up to 250 pounds of force on your jaw while clenching your jaw in your sleep.
Because teeth grinding or jaw clenching can cause the typical TMJ disorder symptoms, including popping, treating bruxism is important to address jaw popping.
You can manage bruxism at home by:
Unfortunately, not all cases of jaw pain resolve with at-home care alone. You may consider dental care if your jaw pain is prolonged, if the popping doesn’t go away after a few days, or if popping and clicking interfere with your ability to eat comfortably.
Our team at Ardsley Dental Spa is experienced in treating TMJ pain; we match treatment with each patient’s needs.
If bruxism is at the heart of your jaw popping, we may suggest a custom-fitted night guard. If sleep apnea is contributing to bruxism, we can help with that too.
In other cases, we may recommend Botox® injections to reduce jaw popping by gently relaxing tense muscles that contribute to TMJ dysfunction.
Call us at 914-348-9815 or book an appointment online if you’re struggling to say goodbye to jaw popping.