I sat at the dinner table with my professors from college and tried desperately to avoid a clanking noise when the soup spoon went into the ceramic bowl. I smiled politely and drew all my attention next on how I'd cut the chicken piece without the knife and fork making a scraping noise against the glass plate. You see, the professors were a very polished lot who took their table manners very seriously, which meant no talking and no noise with the cutlery. So far so good. Then just as the last course was almost through, a loud popping noise filled the room. Everyone stopped midway and looked in my direction. That would be me. My jaw popping found just the exact moment to make through...mortified, that's how I was, and also desperate to find a solution to this irritating problem.
Now I don't say that your tryst with this problem has been like mine, but it sure can get there. Embarrassment is not a good way to go through with life and the sound of popping from one's jaw is simply not right. Other than that, the popping of the jaw definitely means that something is wrong and that things have to be worked out soon.
What Exactly is Popping of the Jaw?
When we open our mouths, the muscles in the jaw need to work in harmony for it to be a very silent affair. If not, there can be the popping sound making way. And even though this is not considered to be a very serious problem, (who has not had the occasional pain and discomfort while chewing or stretched their jaw muscles too much), it is still something that you need to understand thoroughly. Other than the jaw popping when chewing sounds, there could also be a dull pain in the jaw and neck and difficulty in opening and closing the mouth. Sometimes if the condition is too severe, then it could also lead to headaches, ear aches and damage to the inside of the cheeks.
What Causes Jaw Popping
This phenomenon is usually brought on due to an overworked and overstressed temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This joint is responsible for the opening and closing action of the jaw, thus when there is a slip from the socket, or the jaw has been stretched way too much, it affects the joint and it results in the misalignment of the muscles which then leads to the popping and clicking sounds of the jaw. The following are some of the important reasons for why there could be popping sounds from the jaw.
In people who suffer from teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, it has been observed that most of them suffer from a popping sound from the jaw when they chew. The grinding of the teeth causes an overworking of the jaw muscles and causes them to get stressed out. Alternately it could also be caused due to jaw clenching.
Problems with the Joint
There could be several problems that could afflict the joints, muscles and bones in the jaw and cause for the popping sound to make way. These could include the slipping of the jaw joint from its socket, over stretching of the joint muscles, misalignment of the ligaments, muscles or bones in the joint and others. All these directly affect the joints and can lead to popping and pain in the jaw.
An overused jaw can come about due to many reasons like over chewing or grinding teeth or eating too much gum, and many more. All these reasons could lead to the jaws being overused and will typically lead to pain and popping in the jaw.
Treatment for Popping Sounds of the Jaws
So how do we go about treating this popping and clicking that's taken over our jaw? Here are some of the solutions and treatment factors that you can look into for how to fix popping jaw:
- Get an appointment with a dentist to have a thorough check up done of whether there is a cavity or teeth grinding that is causing the jaw popping. This is treated with the help of a mouth guard.
- Resting the overstretched muscles in the jaw is the key to get the jaw to recover faster. This involves not eating very hard foods, avoiding talking and anything else that involves the working of the mouth as well, like eating gum.
- Avoiding foods that need excessive chewing, like nuts and the like.
- Doing certain specialized exercises that help the jaw relax and strengthen the muscles as well.
- Massaging the jaws with a hot pack can help to reduce the inflammation that has been caused.
Jaw popping is not considered a very serious disorder and the solutions for the same are quite easy to follow through. Yet this condition should not be ignored because it can lead to further complications if not treated at the right the time. Thus, if the condition continues for long there has to be immediate action taken.