Does your jaw pop? It might be from your cereal. If not, then you might be suffering from a certain form of temporomandibular joint (TMJ). More than 10 million people in the world have TMJ complications. Women are more commonly affected than men. But what is the reason for this?
Before going into the reason for your jaw popping, you must first understand the role of your TMJ.
This joint is vital as it connects your jaw and the temporal bones of your skull. If you have a disorder in that area, it is called TMD. It typically happens if there are issues in the muscles and jaws of your face.
The TMJ is one of the complex joints in the body as it moves side to side. It also goes backward and forward. As it connects your lower jaw to your temporal bones, the joint enables you to speak with comfort. Facial muscles in this joint control those movements.
There is a soft cartilage disc in the joint socket. This disc absorbs pressure. In this way, you can move your jaw freely without causing damage.
However, jaw popping arises if you chew gum often or you bite your fingernails. Regularly grating your teeth or clenching your jaw may also cause jaw popping. Furthermore, if you have the habit of biting your lip or cheek, you will soon experience a popping sound when you move your jaw.
These behaviors can cause wearing and tearing on your joints which leads to erosion.
Should You See Your Dentist?
Jaw popping is not an emergency case. It is especially true if there is no pain involved. However, some cases may require immediate medical intervention.
For example, if you sustained an injury from a physical assault to your face or a vehicular accident, then you will need medical attention. A broken jaw or dislocated jaw can well, bleed or numb prompting sufferer from finding proper treatment.
How to Diagnose It?
The only person who can diagnose whether or not jaw popping is a sign of TMD is your dentist. When you visit Reflections Dental, your dentist will ask for some specific information about your symptoms. He will carry out a thorough examination. It involves observing your jaw movement.
He may also request a panoramic x-ray to rule out any severe joint issue. MRI may also be necessary but not always. Your dentist will need to look at various factors before he makes a diagnosis.
Can It Be Treated?
Most TMD cases are temporary. And one of the treatments available is custom bite guard. Wearing a bite guard or nite guard can lower the harmful effects of tooth grinding.
Medication may also help in preventing muscle spasm and pain. And learning some relaxation techniques can also prevent muscle tension in the jaw. If you are undergoing a lot of stress, your dentist may recommend seeking counseling.
Does It Require Surgery?
Surgery can be an option for some patients. However, it is rare. It is the last resort. Your dentist will only recommend it if other treatments failed to alleviate the symptoms.
Talk to your dentist at Reflections Dental to find out the cause of your jaw popping and determine the right course of treatment.