By Dr. Sahar Rakhshanfar
Clicking or popping could mean trouble that is if it comes from your jaw. Joint sound is one of the most recognized signs of temporomandibular disorders, commonly referred to as TMJ. While not all jaw sounds necessarily point to TMJ, it could be an early sign and always should be checked out by your dentist.
The temporomandibular joint are the points at which the lower jaw ( the mandible) attaches to the skull. They are among the most complex joints in the human anatomy. If you place your fingers on the sides of your face, just in front of your ears, and open and close your mouth, you can feel the movement of the mandible in the temporomandibular joints.
Orofacial pain includes a number of clinical problems involving the chewing (masticatory) muscles or TMJ joints. Problems can include TMJ joint discomfort; muscle spasms in the head, neck and jaw; migraines, clusters or frequent headaches; or pain with the teeth, face or jaw.
You swallow approximately 2,000 times per day, which causes upper and lower teeth to come together and push against the skull. People who have unstable bite, missing teeth or poorly aligned teeth can have trouble because the muscles work harder to bring the teeth together, causing strain. Pain also can be caused by clenching or grinding teeth, trauma to the head and neck or poor ergonomics.
Some people may experience pain in the ears, eyes, sinuses, cheeks or side of the head, while other experience clicking when moving the jaw or even locking if the jaw is opened or closed.
Dr. Sahar Rakhshanfar has been a practicing dentist for many years and operates the North Hill Dental Center located in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Please visit Dr. Sahar’s other websites and blogs;