If your jaw has been clicking, popping, cracking, or aching, it’s time to head to your local Walnut Creek dentist. There are many reasons that your jaw could be making noise. These clicks or pops can also be accompanied by worse symptoms. Your jaw jerking as it opens or closes is common. It’s also common for mild to moderate pain to accompany these sounds. More rarely, patients experience their jaw “locking” open or closed. Only your Walnut Creek dentist will be able to tell you what’s causing your jaw problems. As soon as these symptoms becoming recurring and consistent, ask your dentist about them.
- Tooth grinding
This is a very common cause of jaw clicking or popping. Grinding your teeth (either during the day or while sleeping) can cause a lot of painful dental problems. Aside from weakening your enamel, tooth grinding can put a lot of wear and tear on your jaw joint. This constant grinding can cause inflammation, which can lead to popping, clicking, and pain.
- Bite misalignment
When your bite doesn’t line up, your jaw is in for a world of hurt. Chewing with your jaws misaligned will put extra strain on your jaw joint. It will also result in your teeth clicking together painfully. That sends vibrations up to your jaw joint as well. Bite misalignment is common after dental work. If you’ve had a filling, cap, or other dental work, it could be that your formerly aligned bite has changed. Go back to your Walnut Creek dentist and see what they can do to make you more comfortable.
- Extreme muscle tension
Extremely tense muscles can pull at your jaw, causing the symptoms of clicking and popping. While just telling yourself to relax probably won’t do the trick, reducing your anxiety might. Many people get relief after they relax fully. Think a gentle yoga session followed by a warm bath.
You can also go the more direct route and apply and hot/warm towel to your face. Gentle pressure and heat can relax the muscles in your jaw. Loose muscles allow your joint to work smoothly once again.
- Joint trauma
If you’ve recently had jaw or head trauma, joint pain could be at the heart of your symptoms. Anything that messes with the complex muscles and bones that make up your jaw could cause popping, clicking, cracking, and more. While these symptoms tend to present themselves soon after the initial accident, it could take a little time for the joint to become so stressed that it leaks through. Consider joint trauma as a potential cause even if the trauma was a month or more before.
Unfortunately, sometimes inflammation is simply due to disease. Arthritis of the jaw joint is treatable, but it will likely present with intense and increasing pain. It’s important to seek help from a Walnut Creek dentist as soon as possible. The longer arthritis runs unchecked, the more severe the symptoms will become.
There are many reasons your jaw clicks and pops. Your Walnut Creek dentist will help you discover the reason behind the action. From there, you can build a plan of treatment together.