How to crack your jaw

This article was co-authored by Pradeep Adatrow, DDS, MS. Dr. Pradeep Adatrow is the only board certified Dentist, Periodontist, and Prosthodontist in the southern United States. With over 15 years of experience, Dr. Adatrow specializes in dental implants, TMJ treatments, periodontal plastic surgery, surgical and non-surgical periodontics, bone regeneration, laser treatments, and soft tissue and gum graft procedures. He received a BS in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of Alabama and earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry. Dr. Adatrow then completed a three-year postgraduate program in periodontics and implantology at Indiana University and went on to complete another three-year postdoctoral program in advanced prosthodontics from the University of Tennessee. He also serves as a full-time professor and the Director of Surgical Prosthodontics at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Adatrow received the Dean’s Junior Faculty Award and the John Diggs Faculty Award, and he was inducted into the Deans Odontological Society. He is board certified by the American Board of Periodontology and is a Fellow of the prestigious International College of Dentistry – a feat that only 10,000 others worldwide can claim.

There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Dealing with jaw pain can be rough. Many times, jaw pain or jaw clicking is caused by TMJ, or Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome. Some people find relief from jaw pain by cracking their jaw, while others find stretching and massaging it to provide more relief. In addition, changing your daily behaviors and being aware of things you do that could aggravate your condition can help you deal with jaw discomfort. Jaw pain can usually be dealt with without professional treatment. However, if you experience consistent, severe pain or your jaw has locked in one position, you may need medical attention. [1] X Expert Source

This article was medically reviewed by Pradeep Adatrow, DDS, MS. Dr. Pradeep Adatrow is the only board certified Dentist, Periodontist, and Prosthodontist in the southern United States. With over 15 years of experience, Dr. Adatrow specializes in dental implants, TMJ treatments, periodontal plastic surgery, surgical and non-surgical periodontics, bone regeneration, laser treatments, and soft tissue and gum graft procedures. He received a BS in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of Alabama and earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry. Dr. Adatrow then completed a three-year postgraduate program in periodontics and implantology at Indiana University and went on to complete another three-year postdoctoral program in advanced prosthodontics from the University of Tennessee. He also serves as a full-time professor and the Director of Surgical Prosthodontics at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Adatrow received the Dean’s Junior Faculty Award and the John Diggs Faculty Award, and he was inducted into the Deans Odontological Society. He is board certified by the American Board of Periodontology and is a Fellow of the prestigious International College of Dentistry – a feat that only 10,000 others worldwide can claim.

There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 84% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.

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Your jaw is controlled by your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Your TMJ can become tense or locked due to stress, misalignment, and teeth grinding. A locked jaw is a painful condition that can often cause other problems like headaches and neck or face soreness. Massage your jaw and perform relaxing, destressing jaw exercises to help it release. If your locked jaw becomes severe or painful, see your doctor for treatment. Maintain a healthy jaw by wearing a mouthguard and regulating your stress so your jaw stays relaxed.

Do not overextend the jaw: Avoid activities that involve opening the mouth wide, such as yelling, singing, and chewing gum. Keep good posture: Reduce facial misalignment by changing body posture if necessary. Consider physical therapy: Facial stretches or massage may be beneficial for some people with jaw popping.

What should I do if I keep cracking my jaw?

  • Go to a dentist. S/he may prescribe a muscle relaxtant and/or a night guard to wear when you’re sleeping. That’s why I got. I do it every day. I do it by pushing my hand against my jaw and opening it down and to the side where my hand is.

Can you pop your jaw out of place?

Jaw dislocation is when the lower part of the jaw moves out of its normal position. It normally heals well, but it can cause problems in future. If you dislocated your jaw, seek medical help as soon as possible. Never try to put a dislocation back in place yourself.

How do you stop cracking your jaw?

You may wish to:

  1. eat a soft diet to allow the TMJ to relax.
  2. avoid chewing gum.
  3. avoid biting your nails.
  4. avoid biting your lower lip.
  5. practice good posture.
  6. limit large jaw movements, such as yawning and singing.

Why do I always want to crack my jaw?

Arthritis occurs when your joints become damaged and inflamed. If it affects your TMJ, it can cause TMD and jaw cracking. All types of arthritis can lead to TMD. Most cases are due to osteoarthritis, but it can also be caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

Is it bad to constantly crack your jaw?

Because jaw popping is linked to joint disc displacement, it can lead to jaw damage in a number of ways. First, this displacement stretches the ligament. Plus, it puts the ligament between the bones. This damages the ligament and may make it hard for the disc to slip back into place.

Does TMJ go away?

Minor TMJ discomfort will usually go away without treatment. However, anyone with the following TMJ symptoms should consider an evaluation to prevent or avoid future issues: Constant or repeated episodes of pain or tenderness at the TMJ or in and around the ear. Discomfort or pain while chewing.

Why does my jaw sound crunchy?

The jaw is an important bone with a function that enables us to eat, drink, speak and sing. When it is working normally, there is no pain or audible sound present. However, if pain or abnormal sounds like crunching or crackling are present, it may be indicative of a TMJ disorder (TMD), or a dislocated jaw.

What is jaw lock?

Lockjaw or trismus, refers to a disorder of the jaw muscles. It is a spasm of the mastication muscles in the jaw that limits the opening of the mouth. Clinically, trismus refers to the limitation of jaw opening or mouth opening due to muscular spasm.

Will a mouth guard stop jaw clicking?

There are many things that a dentist might suggest to ameliorate TMJ symptoms like a clicking jaw. One of the most popular methods is a mouthguard, particularly if your jaw popping is related to bruxism. Mouthguards are able to relieve the pressure on your teeth, which can help to reduce pain on your teeth and jaw.

How can I realign my jaw at home?

Stretching exercises Open your mouth as wide as you comfortably can, and hold for 5-10 seconds. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Glide your lower jaw out as far as it will go and then back in as far as it will go. Hold for 5-10 seconds in each position.

You may wish to:

  1. eat a soft diet to allow the TMJ to relax.
  2. avoid chewing gum.
  3. avoid biting your nails.
  4. avoid biting your lower lip.
  5. practice good posture.
  6. limit large jaw movements, such as yawning and singing.

Why do I keep cracking my jaw?

The jaw popping sensation can be the result of trauma, dislocation or a displaced disc. Clenching, grinding, or chewing gum too often can also cause pain and tightness within the facial muscles, especially if there are missing or misaligned teeth.

Is it bad to crack your jaw?

Cracking your jaw isn’t necessarily harmful. It can happen if you open your mouth wide, like during a big yawn. This is expected and normal. However, take note if your jaw cracks when you talk or chew.

Is jaw clicking normal?

Jaw clicking is quite common and it may only occur sometimes or if when your jaw is really wide open. jaw clicking can only be on one side and sometimes on both sides. It usually isn’t painful but the noise of the click can be worrying.

Why does my jaw crack when I chew food?

As you chew food, the hinges are opening and closing. TMD is the result of a dysfunction of the muscles of mastication; the ones that move the jawbone up and down. The noises you hear are your body’s way of telling you that the jaw movement is compromised. TMD is a fairly common problem among adults.

Will jaw popping go away?

Usually, jaw popping is a temporary condition that clears up with at-home treatments and lifestyle changes. However, people who experience jaw popping that persists, worsens, recurs, or is accompanied by pain or other symptoms, should consult their doctor.

Why does my jaw crack like a knuckle?

What Causes Cracking in Your Jaw. Jaw joint cracking, on the other hand, is caused by displacement of the cushioning cartilage. Your temporomandibular joint is a much more complicated joint, known as a condyloid joint, where the cushioning cartilage is not bound so tightly into place.

Can TMJ be cured?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis. This means that for anyone suffering from TMJ due to arthritis, there’s also no cure for the TMJ disorder. An eroded disk or a connective tissue disease may similarly have no cure. However, there are steps you can take to manage your TMJ pain.

How do I permanently get rid of TMJ?

Having said that, the following are how TMJ could be permanently cured:

  1. Custom-made splints. Custom-made splints are made to be fitted over your lower or upper teeth. .
  2. Physical therapy. Physical therapy involves appropriate exercises for the joint. .
  3. Surgery. .
  4. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.

Why does my jaw crack when I yawn?

Your jaw cracking is a disc coming out of place on both sides of your jaw. The disc acts as a cushion between your jaw bone and your skull. When you open your mouth to yawn, laugh, eat or speak, the disc is in place when it’s open, but out of place when your mouth is closed.

When I open my jaw I hear crunching?

The jaw is an important bone with a function that enables us to eat, drink, speak and sing. When it is working normally, there is no pain or audible sound present. However, if pain or abnormal sounds like crunching or crackling are present, it may be indicative of a TMJ disorder (TMD), or a dislocated jaw.

Can you dislocate your jaw by yawning?

Stretching the jaw too much, such as when yawning or biting, can also cause dislocation. Both of these injuries can cause severe pain in the jaw and face and can also restrict the movement of the jaw.

Why will my jaw not stop clicking?

If you are experiencing issues such as jaw clicking and locking, you may have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (usually referred to as TMJ/TMD). TMJ/TMD occurs when the temporomandibular joint becomes damaged or inflamed due to an injury, inflammatory disorders, and other such issues.

Can braces cause jaw popping?

Stress, lack of sleep, and orthodontic braces can also cause jaw popping, and have been associated with the development of TMJ disorders. Other factors can make TMD worse, including biting your nails, chewing too much gum, and biting the inside of your cheek.

How can I pop my jaw into place?

Stand in front of your patient with your gloves on. Gently place a pad of gauze onto the patient’s lower molars to protect your fingers against sharp teeth. Push down and then forward on the lower teeth to place the jaw back into the temporomandibular joint. You will feel a pop when the jaw is back in place.

Can your jaw go back on its own?

What is a jaw dislocation? A jaw dislocation is the separation of your mandible (lower jaw) from your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). When this happens, your lower jaw cannot go back into place on its own.

When I chew I hear a click in my ear?

Injury or damage to the joint or erosion of cartilage can lead to TMJ disorders. If you have a TMJ disorder, you may hear or feel clicking or popping very close to your ear, particularly when you open your mouth or chew.

When I move my jaw my ear crackles?

The simplest reason for crackling noises in your ears is earwax. Too much earwax buildup in your ear canal may make “crackling” noises as you move your jaw. This may happen naturally. It can also be caused by using cotton swabs to clean your ear.

Is it bad to crack your back?

Cracking your own back won’t lead to any health issues if you do it safely. Avoid cracking your back too often, forcing it into positions, or using too much pressure. Do stretches and exercises that promote a healthy spine and apply ice and heat to the affected area if needed.

Can you paralyze yourself by cracking your back?

In moderation, the answer is no. Studies have shown that occasionally cracking your back can help relieve pressure in your spine without adverse effects. However, when done habitually, popping can cause excessive wear on your joints and potentially lead to premature breakdown.

Is it normal for my neck to crack all the time?

Crepitus is considered harmless, and studies have not shown any evidence that it can cause joint damage or raise risk for arthritis. A surefire sign that a neck crack is the result of crepitus is to repeat the movement that caused it and see if it occurs again.

What does it mean when you pop your knuckles?

The “popping” or “cracking” sound that happens when we crack your knuckles is caused by popping bubbles in your synovial fluid, which is responsible for lubricating your joints. When you pull your bones apart, there is a buildup of negative pressure, causing these bubbles to burst.

Is cracking your ears bad?

Popping your ears is not good or bad for you. Like much else in life, it can be done in moderation. Popping your ears can open up your Eustachian tubes, but even if you don’t pop them, your Eustachian tubes will also open naturally. In fact, they should open 6-10 times every minute!

Is TMJ serious?

After being diagnosed with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), many of our Nashville, TN, patients ask, “Is TMJ disorder serious?” The answer is that although the condition is not life-threatening, it can have significant negative effects on your dental and overall health.

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No one wants to experience trauma to the jaw. Not only can a broken jaw be painful, but it impacts so many essential activities like talking, eating, and even breathing. If you’ve experienced an injury to the face, seek out treatment immediately — you might have a fractured jaw. Understand what can cause a fractured jaw, the symptoms associated with it, what you can expect for treatment, and how it differs from a dislocated jaw.

What Causes a Broken Jaw?

Your jaw is comprised of two cooperative bones: the upper jaw called the maxilla, and the lower jaw, known as the mandible. The two bones are connected at the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) located in front of your ears on either side of your head. The mandible handles most of your mouth’s mechanics, including opening, closing, and chewing. A fractured jaw occurs when one of these bones cracks or breaks.

Common causes for a broken jaw include:

  • Accidental falls, especially when you are unable to catch yourself with your hands
  • Motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycles and bicycles
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Industrial work-place accidents
  • Assaults or a punch to the jaw

How to Know If Your Jaw is Broken

If you’ve received an injury and are concerned about a fractured jaw, see your physician immediately. Some broken jaw symptoms include:

  • Pain in the face or jaw
  • Bruising and swelling
  • Missing teeth or bleeding inside the mouth
  • Pain or difficulty when moving the jaw
  • Numbness in your lower lip or chin from a damaged nerve

How Do You Treat a Fractured Jaw?

Because it can impact your ability to breathe, every jaw injury should be treated as an emergency. Seek medical intervention immediately and ensure the jaw is supported and the airway remains open until you receive treatment. Once you arrive at the hospital, the physician will conduct a physical exam and order X-rays to determine the severity of the injury.

Fractured jaw treatment will depend on the severity of your case. If you have a minor fracture or a clean break, your treatment might include wrapping a bandage around your head to support your jaw and prevent it from opening too wide. Your physician might also recommend over-the-counter pain medications to assist with the pain and swelling.

More severe fractures might require the physician to wire your jaw shut so it can heal. These wires or elastic bands help keep your jaw closed and in the correct position, and you can expect to wear them around six weeks. During this time, you will need a liquid diet until you can chew solid food again. Your physician might prescribe painkillers or antibiotics to help with the pain and prevent any infections. Afterward, exercises will help strengthen these inactive jaw muscles so you can return to full strength and function.

What’s the Difference Between a Fractured and Dislocated Jaw?

Pain in the jaw and face could also be the result of a dislocated jaw. A dislocated jaw occurs when your jaw moves out of position at one or both of the TMJs. It can be challenging to tell the difference between a fractured and dislocated jaw without the help of a medical professional. Some symptoms of a dislocated jaw include:

  • Pain in the face or jaw
  • Pain or difficulty when moving the jaw
  • Inability to close the mouth
  • Misalignment between the mandible and the maxilla
  • An over or underbite

To treat a dislocated jaw, a physician will manually reposition the jaw back into place using their hands. This is called a manual reduction. Afterward, the physician might use a supportive bandage to restrict movement for a few days while the area heals.

Jaw injuries are no joke, so always take precautions when possible, including wearing a seatbelt in the car or protective equipment while playing sports. See your dentist or physician if you feel pain in your jaw or have difficulty talking or chewing. You might be experiencing the effects of teeth grinding, TMJ disorder, periodontal disease, or a fractured jaw. Your medical professional can help you determine the cause of your discomfort and take steps to get your smile back to normal.

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How to crack your jaw

Your day was going fine until you grabbed a bite of your sandwich, and now you hear a crackling sound coming from your jaw. It might hurt or not, but now you have to deal with jaw popping.

The truth is that it really shouldn’t even be an issue unless it hurts or causes your jaw stiffness. However, it would help if you still learned where it is coming from and how you can make it stop.

What Are The Symptoms?

How to crack your jaw

First, let’s see how many boxes do you check. It is important to identify the signs early to know if you’re dealing with something a bit more severe. Here are some of the common symptoms:

  • Your neck aches
  • It’s hard to eat
  • Headaches
  • Toothaches
  • Your jaw feels tender
  • Your jaw locks open or closed position
  • Earaches

If any of these sound familiar, there’s a chance you could be dealing with a Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.

What Is a Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

How to crack your jaw

Let’s begin by clarifying that the temporomandibular joint is the connector that unites your jaw to your temporal bones, which you can find in front of each ear. It’s what allows you to talk, chew, and yawn by enabling you to move your jaw up and down and side to side.

Temporomandibular disorders are problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that support it. This condition is quite frequent in adults.

And the symptoms we mentioned above might originate from different causes.

When a TMD develops, it means that one or both joints have an imbalance. By the time you begin feeling pain and start hearing a popping sound, there is probably a physical abnormality already going on, such as damaged cartilage.

It often not that easy to determine a specific cause. That’s why it’s necessary to consult a specialist to reduce the possibilities and determine the most effective treatment plan.

What Are The Causes of TMD?

It’s often difficult to pinpoint the exact source of TMJ disorder. There’s a number of things that could be causing your discomfort, among which are:

1.- Teeth grinding: clenching your teeth puts a lot of pressure on your temporomandibular joint. It is often referred to as bruxism, and it happens when you are under a lot of stress or anxiety. Some people do it during the day without noticing, and others do it in their sleep. Missing, crooked teeth, and sleep apnea are also common causes of teeth grinding.

2.- Arthritis: your joint may stop moving as well as it used to as a result of this inflammatory or degenerative joint problem. Your jaw can get affected by arthritis, whether it’s psoriatic, rheumatoid, or osteoarthritis. Luckily, it is not that common for arthritis to develop in your jaw.

3.- Fibromyalgia: or also known as irritable bowel syndrome, is a condition marked by widespread musculoskeletal pain, as well as fatigue, sleep, memory loss, and mood problems. This condition can aggravate or overlap with TMD pain.

4.- Teeth malocclusion: another common name for malocclusion is overbite or underbite. It causes the jaw and mouth’s misalignment, which can lead to it popping or clicking. You could also hear some ringing in your ear. Besides, this condition can even lead to teeth grinding and clenching.

5.- Cheek biting: some people believe that cheek biting, like nail-biting, is harmless practice. Even though it appears to be a habit with no consequences, it could be a sign of an obsessive-compulsive disorder that comes from stress and anxiety.

It’s important to have in mind that you will likely have pain and discomfort if your jaw popping comes from one of the issues above.

On the other hand, if your jaw is popping and there’s no pain, it might not be because one or both of your articular discs are worn or abnormally formed, but not to the point of causing pain. In these cases, it’s not really necessary to seek help, but you should always pay attention to your symptoms.

How to Relieve Jaw Popping?

It is, of course, essential to treat it, and when visiting a professional, they might share with you some pain-relieving home remedies to try for your jaw popping. These are a few you can try:

Packs of heat and ice

Apply an ice pack to the jaw and hold it there for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then, get a heat pack and apply it for 5 to 10 minutes as well. Repeat this alternating therapy several times a day until you feel relief and the pain is gone.

Exercising your jaw muscles

Try to open your mouth as wide as you can comfortably with the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. You can stay in this position for 5 to 10 seconds only. Then, move your jaw in and out as far as it can go, but try not to force it. Hold the position for another 5 to 10 seconds.

Make use of stress management techniques

Stress can be the source of clenching of the teeth by tightening your neck, shoulder, and jaw muscles. Try some physical activity to release some tension or deep breathing exercises to relax these muscles throughout the day.

Watch out for crunchy food

When eating, take tiny bites and stay away as much as you can from hard or crunchy foods. Crunchy meals irritate your jaw, so limit your intake to soft, easy-to-chew items. Take little bites and avoid expanding your mouth too wide when eating.

What Should You Do If Home Remedies Aren’t Enough?

How to crack your jaw

If the pain and discomfort don’t stop, you could need professional assistance. Of course, depending on the reason for your jaw cracking or your dentist can recommend the following treatment:

Mouthpieces: in order to prevent or manage teeth grinding, your dentist can recommend the use of a splint or nightguard. Besides, this dental device can also be helpful to correct a malocclusion.

Ultrasound: this applies heat to the joint and can help to enhance jaw mobility and relieve pain.

Injections for pain relief: getting injections into trigger points may provide relief from jaw discomfort for those who suffer from myofascial pain syndrome.

Medication: your doctor or dentist may prescript you high doses of NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety medications, or antidepressants to treat your TMD.

If you’re looking for a dentist who can help you treat the consequences of a jaw popping, try giving us a call. Dr. Serena Kurt is an experienced San Diego Dentist who will guide you to the best treatment.

Fill out the contact form to get started and let an expert take care of your oral health.

Cocaine comes in second as the most trafficked illegal substance in the entire world. It is highly addictive and only takes one or a few uses to make the person dependent on the drug.

It may seem recreational fun for the person, but what they don’t realize is the devastation cocaine can havoc on your life. If you suspect a loved one is on cocaine, pinpointing the right symptoms is critical. One of the main giveaways is coke jaw.

So, are you wondering what is coke jaw, and how to tell if a loved one is experiencing it? Keep reading for everything to know, including signs, symptoms, and treatments.

What Is Coke Jaw? The Signs and Symptoms

You can take cocaine by ingesting it, rubbing it on your gums, or snorting the substance up your nose. Since it is a powerful stimulant drug, coke speeds up your entire body.

That leads to side effects like coke jaw clenching. The muscles in your mouth twitch in sporadic movements.

A person with coke jaw movements will grind their teeth and move their mouth from side to side in an erratic fashion. Coke jaw is a physical side effect that leads to other complications within the mouth.

Perforation of Oral Palate

People often snort cocaine through the nasal cavity. When this happens, the drug constricts blood vessels in the nasal route of their oxygen supply.

That leads to necrosis, where the cells can no longer sustain themselves and die. When that happens, the cells and tissues in the septum deteriorate.

Since the nose and mouth connect, perforation of the oral palate occurs. The roof of the mouth goes into decline, making it difficult for the person to swallow, eat, and even speak.

Bruxism

Bruxism is a teeth-grinding disorder. Many of us experience this even without using cocaine. We tend to grind our teeth in our sleep or subconsciously during the day.

But those who use cocaine experience heightened symptoms. The drug leads to an increase in abnormal teeth grinding motions.

That leads to worn-down enamel, cavities, and brittle or broken teeth. Bruxism is also the top cause as to why people feel jaw pain after coke exposure.

Dry Mouth

Crack cocaine can cause a decrease in saliva flow. That leads to something called Xerostomia, or dry mouth. While this doesn’t sound like a serious issue, the fact is that chronic oral dryness can lead to complications like tooth decay, bleeding gums, and gum disease.

Dental Erosion

According to the American Dental Association, dental erosion is the loss of hard tissue on the teeth. Many factors can play a role in the loss of enamel, like your diet, acid reflux, and other lifestyle habits.

For your teeth to wear down, something has to coat them to mix with acid and bacteria. When people use cocaine as an oral drug, the powder covers their teeth.

Coke powder is a substance that is very high in acidity with a pH number of 4.5. If there is cocaine residue lingering on your teeth, it will eat away at the hard tissue.

But it won’t stop there. Cocaine powder will continue to wear down the other tissues that lie inside of your teeth, as well. Once this happens, it leads to missing teeth, infection, lacerations, and abrasions.

Periodontitis

Some people rub cocaine directly onto their gums. That is because any mucus cavity will accelerate the effects of a drug faster than ingestion.

By putting the drug on the gums, you risk inflammation that leads to periodontal disease. The periodontal tissue is what supports our teeth and keeps them alive and healthy.

But cocaine causes resorption of the bone and tissue beneath our teeth. When this happens, our gums recede and retract, and our teeth are liable to fall out.

Treatment for Coke Jaw and Drug Abuse

Unfortunately, there are no FDA-approved pharmaceutical treatments to aid in drug abuse. Instead, the most effective is behavioral intervention by the family.

That means that loved ones of the drug user form a team and meet with the person in a safe, private area. The family and friends relay their worries and express a need for the other person to seek help for their addiction.

Once they agree, then detox programs and rehab are the best choices. At these centers, the person goes through detoxification to flush the drugs out of the system.

The notion here is that once the drug detoxes from the body, the person can then move forward with a clear mind and tackle their underlying emotional issues.

At Restore Detox Center, we provide medical assessment and evaluation to formulate the best treatment possible. We then stabilize the patient and guide them through their withdrawals.

During this time, we provide medication to ease withdrawal stress. We also alter the diet and nutrition to ensure the patient receives the appropriate nutrients and vitamins. Afterward, you are ready to transition to a treatment program that will help you reduce your dependency on cocaine and other substances.

The entire time you are in our center, you not only have the support of 24-hour staff but your friends and family as well. During your time at one of these facilities, you can attend support groups where others who suffer from drug abuse share their experiences.

Attending these sessions will help you realize you are not alone and that help is possible. Detox and rehab treatments depend on the individual. However, they can last anywhere between 30-90 days.

Find a Detox Center

As you can tell, there are several signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse. Things like deteriorating teeth, mood swings, and bizarre behavior may be signs that someone you love is using.

And, remember, if you find yourself addicted to cocaine, watch out for the symptoms of health decline. If you asked yourself, what is coke jaw, we hope this article helped you understand how to spot the signs and symptoms.

If you or someone you care for has an addiction, it may be time to find a detox center. At Restore Detox Centers, we are here to get you the help you need. Do not hesitate to contact us today and take your first step to treatment.

What Is Jaw Cracking?

Jaw cracking, also known as jaw popping is the snapping and clicking sound in the jaw. It occurs along with jaw pain and discomfort.

Depending on the underlying condition moving the jaw would also be difficult.

Jaw cracking would not be of much concern in most of the cases. But, if you recently sustained a facial injury, chances of dislocation or breaking the jaw are more. In such a case, you would need emergency medical care.

What Can Cause Cracking In The Jaw?

Several causes can lead to cracking in the jaw that includes:

1. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

The jaw bone is attached to the skull at the temporomandibular joint. Anything wrong in the joint is termed as a temporomandibular joint disorder.

The temporomandibular joint disorder may lead to cracking in the jaw along with the following symptoms (1) :

  • Jaw stiffness
  • Pain in face, neck, and jaw
  • Limited jaw movement
  • Locking of the jaw

There is no specific cause of the temporomandibular joint disorder, but it’s believed to occur from clenching of the jaw during an emotional outburst.

According to the National Institute of Craniofacial Research, temporomandibular affects women more than men (2) .

2. Arthritis

Damaged and inflammation of joints is known as arthritis. If arthritis affects the temporomandibular joint, it can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder or jaw cracking.

Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can affect temporomandibular joints.

Along with cracking of joints, it can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pain in joint and stiffness
  • Poor range of motion

3. Injury or Dislocation Of The Jaw

Injuries to the face can break or dislocate the jaw.

Common facial injuries include:

  • Sports injuries
  • Industrial accidents
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Physical trauma
  • Dental or medical procedures

The symptoms of facial injury and dislocation include:

  • Difficulty in talking
  • Crooked bite
  • Facial pain
  • Jaw locking
  • Difficulty in closing the mouth
  • Damage to the teeth
  • Facial numbness
  • Ear pain
  • Difficulty in chewing
  • Bruising swelling and bleeding

4. Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Myofascial pain syndrome leads to pain in the muscles and fascia (a sheet of connective tissue that covers every muscle).

This syndrome can affect any muscle of the jaw, neck, and shoulder. There may be cracking and popping in the jaw along with:

  • Pain muscle knots
  • Throbbing jaw pain
  • Headache
  • Jaw muscle tenderness
  • Difficulty in sleeping

5. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is repeated and brief stops in breathing during sleep. It occurs due to a narrow airway in the throat.

Obstructive sleep apnea increases the chances of occurrence of temporomandibular joint disorder. It may lead to a stress response which may cause the jaws to clench together.

Along with cracking of jaw other symptoms include:

  • Daytime tiredness
  • Snoring
  • Shifts in mood
  • Dry mouth
  • Morning headache

6. Malocclusion Of The Teeth

Misalignment of the upper and lower jaw is known as malocclusion. It causes the upper and lower teeth to line up incorrectly.

Different types of malocclusion include:

  • Open bite
  • Overbite
  • Crossbite
  • Crowded teeth
  • Underbite

The main symptom of malocclusion includes teeth misalignment. Other symptoms include:

  • Mouth breathing
  • Speech issues
  • Difficulty in chewing
  • Change in facial appearance

7. Infection

Pain along with jaw cracking may indicate an infection in the salivary gland, jawbone, and temporomandibular joint disorder.

Depending on the site of infection there may be:

  • Difficulty in opening the mouth
  • Abnormal taste in the mouth
  • Swelling
  • Fever
  • Dry mouth
  • Open ulcers

8. Tumor

Tumor in the oral cavity can lead to oral cancer. It may lead to the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty in hearing
  • Non-healing sores in the mouth
  • Voice changes
  • Persistent earache
  • Swelling in neck and face
  • Pain in the mouth
  • Unexplained weight loss

The tumor can affect the way the jaw moves and lead to noises of cracking and popping in the jaw.

How To Treat Jaw Cracking?

Home remedies

  • Over-the-counter prescriptions can help ease jaw discomfort.
  • Jaw stretches and massages can help reduce tension.
  • Avoiding hard food can keep the symptoms from worsening
  • Heat and ice pack can relieve inflammation and temporomandibular joint disorder function.
  • Avoid overextension jaws by restricting activities such as chewing gum, singing loudly, etc.
  • As stress triggers temporomandibular joint disorder, stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, and regular exercise can help.

If the home remedies do not helps, the treatment of the underlying condition can treat the cracking in the jaw.

If the jaw cracking is due to a serious condition, medical treatment may be required.

  • Prescription medication is given by the doctor, if, over the counter medication does not help.
  • Oral splints can be used to reposition the jaw and reduce the chances of temporomandibular joint disorder.
  • Mouthguards can be used to reduce the grinding of teeth and related discomforts.
  • Botox injections would help alleviate temporomandibular joint pain.
  • Arthrocentesis, a procedure to remove debris and inflammation by-products from the temporomandibular joints.
  • Corrective dental works can be done for the misalignment of the upper and lower jaw.
  • Corrective surgeries can be done for jaw deformities

If you have cracking sound in the jaw, pay attention to the symptoms. If there is persistent pain, consult a doctor to get an appropriate advice and treatment.

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

6 Ways to Stop Jaw Locking and Popping– Jaw Doctor Explains

How to crack your jaw

Pain and discomfort in your jaw can really ruin your day. You probably have searched for “Why does my jaw keep locking?” and are looking for answers. At our Mount Prospect dentist office, we have seen it become chronic and truly debilitating.

So, why do these issues come up? What causes your jaw to pop and lock up? What can you do to avoid it in the future?

Before discussing how to stop jaw clicking, how to stop jaw popping and popping, let’s look at why you’re experiencing this issue.

Why is your jaw popping or locked up?

When your jaw pops or makes a clicking sound, possibly followed by pain, this could be temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD) or temporomandibular disorder (TMD) at play. If you are experiencing popping in your jaw without accompanying pain, it is typically not a cause for concern, however, it’s a good idea to know what is causing the problem nonetheless.

Many different factors can contribute to the issue, including:

  • Biting the inside of your lips or cheeks
  • Clenching your jaw
  • Excessively (or even regularly) chewing gum
  • Grinding your teeth

In addition, jaw injuries, arthritis, sleep apnea, infection, an over or underbite, tumors, overextension, problems with the temporomandibular joint, and myofascial pain syndrome can also cause your jaw to pop and lock up.

Symptoms of Jaw Popping and Locking

Symptoms of jaw popping and locking can include a variety of issues, but some more common than others.

The most typical side effects are:

  • Discomfort and pain
  • Inability to open your mouth wide
  • Toothache, earache, and/or neck ache
  • Swelling in the face
  • Tenderness in your face, jaw, and neck
  • Locking, either in the closed or open positions

One of the most common reasons people see a dentist outside of preventative care is because they are concerned about their jaw “popping.” This is an uncomfortable feeling that usually happens when you’re using your jaw in talking, chewing, and yawning motions.

Jaw popping is often, but not always, due to problems with your TMJ, short for temporomandibular joint . When your joint isn’t aligned right with your jaw, every time it engages, you’ll hear and feel a little clicking sensation. Depending on how severe the problem is, the discomfort can evolve into moderate to severe pain.

At Supremia Dentistry, we treat the symptoms of TMJ to help you get rid of the pain. But we also go further to the “root” and help you understand the problem and figure out the cause.

What is TMJ?

When your temporomandibular joint is dysfunctional, the first sign is usually the jaw popping you’re concerned about. Your TMJ joint plays a very important role in your body. It connects your lower jaw to the temporal bones in your skull. This connection is what lets you move your jaw sideways and forward and backward.

Because of its essential role, it’s a complex joint. It has to be perfectly aligned in place in order for you to have the range of motion you need to chew, talk, yawn, and do all the other things you do with your mouth.

The joint is connected by facial muscles that control the movements. There is also a small cartilage disc inside the socket of the joint to help absorb pressure and prevent your TMJ from being damaged.

However, there are some things that get around that little soft cartilage disc and cause problems with your TMJ, anyway. If your jaw is popping when you’re chewing or talking, read on to learn more about TMJ.

TMJ Issues and the Culprit of Them

The early signs of TMJ problems include popping sounds and discomfort. When you start to notice them coming seemingly for no reason, you should pay attention to a few habits you might have.

TMJ issues are one of the most common side effects of trauma to the jaw or side of the head. The jaw could be dislocated. If that’s the case, you’re likely experiencing moderate to severe pain and you know the reason for the problem is probably the trauma.

But TMJ problems can happen “out of the blue,” too. In those cases, it’s more likely that a chronic habit you don’t even realize you have is slowly damaging the joint. Ongoing behaviors like clenching, grinding your teeth, and regular gum chewing all put pressure on the little disc that protects the joint. They also can cause your facial muscles to tighten up and become painful.

Most people unconsciously start being more careful about how they move their jaw when TMJ signs start to appear. In a lot of these cases, the problem goes away by itself because the individual stops the problem behavior naturally. In other situations, however, the problem gets worse. This could mean there is an underlying health condition and medical attention is necessary.

Medical Reasons for TMJ

A visit to Supremia Dentistry can help you to determine if your TMJ symptoms are going to go away on their own, with a little help, or if they’re the start of something more serious.

TMJ jaw popping is seen as a side effect frequently in health conditions such as:

  • Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, which can damage the cartilage of the TMJ and cause joint pain, stiffness, swelling, inflammation, and reduced range of motion.
  • Myofascial pain syndrome, a chronic pain disorder that manifests as pain in the trigger points of certain muscles. This shows up as TMJ and can be narrowed down if you have jaw pain for longer than one week or pain that gets worse if you strain or stretch your neck.
  • Sleep apnea, which can cause jaw pain because the jaw clenches down when you sleep to keep your airway from being obstructed. This hard clench causes pressure and stress on the jaw and neck.
  • An infection in your salivary gland, characterized by TMJ popping, facial pain, dry mouth, a foul taste, and swelling. Any infection should be treated medically as soon as possible to prevent dangerous complications.

Your dentist will help you narrow down the reason for your TMJ and give you direction on how to treat it.

Ways to Treat TMJ

If your TMJ is bothering you and you can’t get to the dentist right away, you want to know how to stop your jaw from popping in the meanwhile. These remedies may not fix the problem, but they’ll reduce your pain while you wait.

Easy home treatments include:

  • Over-the-counter medications that reduce inflammation, like ibuprofen
  • An ice pack to the painful area for 10 – 15 minutes to reduce inflammation, followed by a warm compress to the area for 5 minutes to help with the pain
  • Rest and relaxation of the jaw and neck area
  • Avoiding any activities that involve opening your mouth widely or repetitive motions like gum chewing or eating crunchy and chewy foods

If these temporary treatments don’t get rid of the pain, you may need medical help. Medical treatments can be as basic as a custom-made mouthguard or splint of you are grinding and clenching your teeth.

Other medical treatments for ongoing TMJ symptoms may include prescription medications to relieve severe pain. Your dentist could recommend laser therapy or radio wave therapy to stimulate the muscles and reduce the pain in your jaw and neck.

If the problem becomes too painful and these treatments have not helped, your dentist could suggest dental solutions that might be causing the pain. Underbites and overbites and missing teeth are the culprits behind a lot of TMJ issues and until the problem is corrected, the TMJ issues will keep occurring.

In worst-case scenarios, surgery is a possibility, but there are many avenues to try before you get to that point.

Jaw Popping? Supremia Dentistry Can Help

Anytime you have problems with your jaw, mouth, or teeth, you should let your dentist know. They could be signs of an underlying problem. If they are caught early, they can be fixed easily. It’s when you put the symptoms off for too long that they become painful, expensive fixes.

From preventative care and regular check-ups to TMJ treatment, Supremia Dentistry is here to help you with all your dental needs. Call us today to schedule your appointment!

How to crack your jaw

How to crack your jaw

Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) works hard each day to help you talk, eat, drink, and even breathe. And, most of us don’t think about this critical joint unless it starts to cause issues.

The daily wear and tear on the TMJ can cause not only irritation, but misalignment as well. The TMJ is a ball-and-socket joint that relies upon a smooth, efficient process to move the jaw around without pain, inflammation, or painful symptoms of a TMJ disorder.

A misaligned jaw is more common than people realize. But is it something to be concerned about? The answer depends upon your unique facial anatomy and whether it’s causing pain or other problems. Before you seek invasive treatment for this issue, make sure you know the facts about the jaw and how it works.

Tooth and Jaw: Working Together

Ideally, the teeth sit in alignment for proper jaw function. This means the teeth come together without too much impact or pressure. The top row of teeth should come down just outside of the lower teeth in an ideal bite.

You’ve probably heard the terms “overbite” and “underbite.” These refer to teeth that do not come together quite like they should. An overbite means the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth too much, while an underbite means that the lower teeth sit outside of the upper teeth when biting down. These are both indicators of a possible jaw misalignment.

An underbite or an overbite does not necessarily need to be corrected or treated. If a person is able to use their jaw and teeth comfortably, they may be able to live with an overbite or underbite and have no issues. But, sometimes this jaw misalignment does cause problems that require treatment, including:

Trouble chewing due to pain or a stiff jaw

Excessive mouth breathing, even when the nose is clear

Sleep problems because of pain or pressure on the jaw or face when lying down

Trouble with speech, which may occur if pain or stiffness inhibit the natural movement of the jaw

Facial or jaw pain that occurs after eating or speaking

Ongoing headaches or facial pain

Inability to find a comfortable “bite” or the sensation of multiple bites

A sudden or gradual change in the bite

Correcting an overbite or an underbite does not necessarily solve the issue, however. Sometimes the teeth will appear to fit very well, especially after treatment with orthodontics.

It is important to understand that the lower jaw can be positioned by the muscles in a way to allow alignment of the teeth to fit together. But, sometimes this position held by the muscles does not allow optimum alignment of the ball within the socket. In this way, the appearance of a good bite may not be a true representation of what is happening at the level of the joint itself.

Treating Jaw Misalignment

How to crack your jaw

Jaw misalignment can be a minor issue or a major one. Whether you need treatment depends upon your symptoms, your history of TMJ problems, and what seems to trigger the pain or discomfort.

Invasive treatments are not necessarily needed if you don’t have pain or dental problems as a result of the jaw misalignment. But some people find that they need help realigning the jaw because it’s causing pain or unnecessary wear and tear on the teeth. Seeing a dental professional who specializes in TMJ health is the first place to start. Some ways to help realign the jaw include:

Muscle relaxation, behavioral therapy. and stress management to bring the muscles of the jaw back to health and alignment on their own

A customized bite appliance that gently helps place the TMJ muscles in their proper position

Braces or palate expanders to reposition teeth and stretch the palate when needed

In rare and severe cases, jaw surgery, which should only be considered when all other options have been exhausted

Beware of “Bite Corrector” Options

How to crack your jaw

Sometimes dentists will recommend grinding on teeth or putting you in braces to correct your bite, even thinking that they will resolve your jaw problems by doing so. At MedCenter TMJ, we prefer to make sure your jaw joint alignment is corrected prior to making any permanent changes to your teeth. We believe this will give you the best long term treatment outcomes and limit the chances for retreatment being required down the road.

There is no simple, one-size-fits-all approach to jaw misalignment. If a dental professional has said you have a misaligned jaw but you continue to have no dental or health issues because of it, sometimes it’s best to leave it alone. Follow up visits every six months can ensure that the teeth continue to be healthy and that the problem isn’t getting worse. And, avoiding TMJ triggers such as chewing gum, excessive stress, and poor sleep can help you continue to live a healthy life with a jaw that is slightly misaligned.

Concerned About Jaw Misalignment?

As with any medical treatment, be sure you weigh the pros and cons before moving forward. Consider the risk and cost of major treatments for a misaligned jaw and what benefit they will have.

At MedCenter TMJ, we opt for conservative treatment options first because they are safe, cost-effective, and can often correct the issue efficiently. Of course, in severe cases where the patient is in considerable pain, our focus is to help give them symptom relief while treating the issue, but will also do everything possible to help you avoid surgery or major procedures.

Get Your Health and Confidence Back

Our goal is simple: we want our patients to lead healthy lives without pain from a TMJ problem. We use state-of-the-art technology for diagnosis and treatment of TMJ problems, and we provide you with a customized treatment plan that fits your lifestyle.

If you are having jaw pain or symptoms of TMJ, contact MedCenter TMJ to set up an appointment.

How to crack your jawIf 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Arthritis

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.

posted: Apr. 15, 2020.

How to crack your jaw

Jaw clicking

You may have noticed that when you are eating or when you yawn, your jaw clicks. The good news is that most of the time, there is really absolutely nothing at all to worry about. Jaw clicking is quite common and it may only occur sometimes or if when your jaw is really wide open. jaw clicking can only be on one side and sometimes on both sides. It usually isn’t painful but the noise of the click can be worrying. There are however instances when the jaw clicking together with other signs (such as locking, pain etc) can be problematic and you may need to do something about it.

The proper biological name for the lower jaw is the mandible and maxilla for the upper jaw. The mandible is the portion that moves during eating, talking and swallowing. The jaw joint itself is located just in front of the skin flap immediately in front of the ear. You can feel the jaw joint moving easily by placing two fingers together and placing them just on the skin in front of the skin flap and opening/closing your mouth. The biological name for the jaw joint is known as The Temporomandibular joint. It’s quite a mouthful (the pun is not intended) to pronounce so it is abbreviated as the TMJ. The basic structure of the joint is much like other joints in that you have two bones separated by cartilage and synovial fluid fills the joint capsule.

How to crack your jaw Normal Functioning Jaw: Normal opening – The disc, which is shown in yellow, is in the proper position and it glides forward and back when the jaw is opened.

Symptoms to look out for

As previously mentioned, if your TMJ clicks, that is not something you immediately need to do anything about unless if you also notice other signs, then you should get it evaluated by your dentist or an Orofacial pain specialist. These signs are if your jaw locks, pain around the joint area, unexplained ear ache if there is pain on opening or closing, if you get frequent headaches especially on waking up in the morning and if you notice you unconsciously grind your teeth or clench your jaw. Once you experience pain or spasm around your TMJ, this then becomes a reason to visit an Orofacial pain specialist. This condition is known as Temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Temporomandibular disorder or Temporomandibular syndrome and is frequently accompanied by clenching or grinding ( bruxism). Even if the pain is not that severe, bruxism can seriously damage and crack the enamel of your teeth until it completely wears down. Enamel of your teeth does not have the capacity to grow back so once the enamel has worn down it will never grow back. Once the enamel has disappeared, you are down to the underlying softer part of the tooth called dentin. If the clenching and grinding continues, the dentin will wear away much faster and before long, you will notice sensitivity as you get closer to the nerves inside your teeth. For certain, you will also definitely become aware of your teeth becoming shorter and flatter around the edges as they wear away. As your teeth become shorter this in itself places extra strain on your TMJ.

How to crack your jaw Popping or clicking jaw: The disc, which is shown in yellow, is forward of the jaw bone. When the jaw is opened, the disc clicks or pops, and then the jaw follows its normal opening. A pop or click can be heard when the jaw is closed.

How to crack your jaw Closed lock: The disc is forward of its normal position and it prevents the jaw from fully opening. This is called a closed lock or anterior displacement without reduction

Available treatment options

The goal of any jaw pain or TMD treatment is to relieve the pain, restore normal function and to identify any underlying causes if present. Scientific evidence shows that non surgical conservative & reversible treatment options should be initiated first before considering any surgical options which are rarely needed. However, any clicking of the jaw will probably not go away (which is OK since clicking alone is not pathological). Recommended treatment modalities are:

1. Physical medicine (physical therapy, home self care exercises, relaxation techniques, soft diet, heat/cold application etc)

2. TMJ orthotic (custom made night guard/splint specifically designed to unload the jaw joint)

3. Trigger point injection or dry needling to help alleviate painful tight muscles.

4. Short term anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxants if indicated.

5. Jaw joint injection or lavage if needed.

6. Jaw joint surgery (last resort option)

So in summary, there is no need to worry if your jaw clicks. If however there is pain, difficulty chewing/dysfunction or evidence of a clenching or grinding habit, then it should be evaluated by an Orofacial pain specialist.

1. Chantaracherd P, John MT, Hodges JS, Schiffman EL. Temporomandibular joint disorders’ impact on pain, function, and disability. J Dent Res. 2015;94(3 Suppl):79S–86S. doi:10.1177/0022034514565793

2. Butts, Raymond et al. Conservative management of temporomandibular dysfunction: A literature review with implications for clinical practice guidelines (Narrative review part 2) Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, Volume 21, Issue 3, 541 – 548

If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, I invite you to make an appointment for a consultation at my office (https://www.dallastmjdr.com/contact). We are thorough, compassionate and have many tools at our disposal to help.

If you are located outside the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you can find a practitioner in near you on the website of The American Academy of Orofacial Pain. Choose a doctor who is listed as Diplomate.

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Is TMJ bothering you? You’re not alone. TMJ disorders affect over 10 million Americans. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are usually the result of inflamed and painful chewing muscles around your jaw. For some, it comes and goes and is triggered by doing something like chewing a piece of gum all day. For others, TMJ can be chronic and very painful. You’re probably wondering how to get rid of your jaw pain. There’s excellent news. A TMJ massage can help relieve your pain. As you read on, we’ll provide a little background on TMJ and cover three specific at-home therapies that will offer your jaw some pain relief.

The 411 on TMJ

The exact cause of TMJ is often challenging to determine. But there are some causes to look out for including, arthritis, a jaw injury, or clenching or grinding your teeth (bruxism). It also can be genetic. Signs of TMJ may include:

  • Pain or tenderness in your jaw, temporomandibular joints, or around your ear
  • Difficulty or pain while chewing
  • Locking of the jaw joint so that opening or closing your mouth is difficult

Contact your dentist if you have persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw or if you have trouble opening or closing your jaw all the way.

Now, let’s discuss the fun part so you can get some relief!

TMJ Kneading Massage

A TMJ kneading massage provides constant, circular motion against the joints and muscles most affected by TMJ pain. Here’s how you do it:

  • Locate the masseter muscles in your lower jaw. They’re the ones directly behind your molars and just below your cheekbone. If you start at the corner of your mouth and work your fingers back towards your ear, you’ll feel a flat plane of bone. That’s what you’re looking for.
  • Massage this area by pressing gently with two or three fingers and moving in a circular motion. This warms the muscles and improves lymph function, which helps to flush out any buildup of waste. It also increases blood flow to this area.
  • Continue until you find some relief.
  • Experiment with different areas of the jaw and even try massaging your jaw with your entire hand.

TMJ Friction Massage

Next up: the TMJ friction massage.

For some people, pressure alone is enough to find some relief. That said, it needs to be done correctly and in the right place. Here’s how to apply a TMJ friction massage to yourself:

  • Locate the mandible muscle. This is the lower part of your jaw just below the masseter, found along your jawline.
  • Apply gentle, constant pressure to the mandible muscle using your index finger.
  • Experiment with the exact spot and amount of pressure that works for you. Try different things each day until you find what works best for you.

TMJ Stretching Massage

The final massage for TMJ we’ll cover today is the stretching massage. If you liked the friction massage, the TMJ stretching massage could further your relief and “exercise” the muscles most responsible for TMJ disorders. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Place two thumbs parallel to your jawline, right above your mandible muscles.
  • Press on these muscles as you drag your thumbs down against your jaw, slowly stretching the muscle away from your upper jaw (maxillary).
  • You can also place two fingers of one hand on the mandible and two fingers of the other hand on the masseter muscles. Then, press your fingers toward each other until the tips of your fingers are in between both muscles. You’ll want to hold them for a few seconds before relaxing.

Pro-tip: The first variation of this massage needs two thumbs, so you might want to ask your partner for help!

Now you know how to relieve some of your TMJ jaw pain, and the best part is that you can do all three of these massages at home. The key is to find the exact points and pressure that works for you. And to keep experimenting until you find relief. If you notice you’re sore or stiff for too long, see your dentist or doctor for treatment options to pair with any of these TMJ massage techniques. So start trying out these massages today. It’ll help you drop the pain and feel more comfortable as soon as possible.

Jaw popping and clicking happen quite often. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are very common and their causes are often multifactorial.

Jaw. Image Courtesy of Jmarchn

What is TMJ?

The jaw is made up of two bones: the maxillary bone and the mandibular bone. The lower jaw is connected to the skull bone (jaw bone) at the top by the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This joint is located on both sides of the face, just in front of the ear, and has a fibrocartilaginous articular plate that prevents friction between the mandible and the skull bone during various jaw movements (swallowing, chewing, speaking, yawning). When the mouth is open, the condyle rotates towards itself and moves forwards; the articular disc follows this movement and moves forwards. Around this joint, the jaw moves in three dimensions thanks to different muscles: forwards and backward, left and right, and up and down.

Symptoms

The clicking of the jaw is the sound of the joint. When the mouth closes, the disc is no longer between the jaw and the skull; when the mouth opens again, the disc returns to its place between the condyle and the skull. The jaw popping corresponds exactly to the condyle passing under the articular disc.

The jaw pops, clicks or squeaks when you open your mouth. It may be just a sound, but it can also be a sensation of “movement” of part of the jaw.

This phenomenon can occur sporadically, without pain or discomfort, or regularly. It may also be accompanied by other symptoms: pain in the front of the ear, difficulty opening the jaw wide, headache, various ear symptoms, etc.

Risk factors

Stress can consciously or unconsciously cause hyper contraction of the jaw muscles, which puts a lot of stress on the joint and can cause it to tear.

Temporomandibular joint disorders are more common in young women, mainly due to hyperlaxity (too loose ligaments).

Causes of jaw clicking and popping

Bruxism

Bruxism (teeth grinding), i.e. sideways rotation of the teeth (eccentric bruxism) or clenching of the teeth (centric bruxism), can cause jaw cracking due to hyperextension of the joint.

Dental defects

Misaligned teeth or missing teeth prevent the correct positioning of the upper and lower jaw and therefore the optimal functioning of the joint.

Trauma

Trauma or fracture to the face, especially the jaw, can cause damage to the temporomandibular joint, which can lead to jaw fracture.

Anatomical abnormalities of the jaw

The mandible may be too far back (retrognathia), too far forward (prognathia), or deviated to one side (laterognathia).

Postural disorders

Some experts believe that jaw disorders are often caused by postural imbalances. The jaw joint can act as a pendulum to compensate for incorrect posture and ensure head stability.

Risk of complications

Regular jaw popping can cause temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Due to dysfunction between the cranial bone and the mandibular bone, TMJ presents with a number of symptoms: pain in the joint when opening and closing the mouth, reduced jaw mobility, headaches, jaw clicking, or even locking. ENT problems are not uncommon: cramping, tinnitus, chronic sinusitis, etc. It can also have distant consequences: back, neck, hip, knee pain, etc.

In the long term, there is a risk that the jaw may become blocked, making it impossible to take food in.

Treatment and prevention

For isolated and painless popping and clicking treatment of temporomandibular joint inflammation is not necessary.
If jaw clicking is frequent, causes discomfort, or even interferes with daily life, and is associated with other disorders, treatment is necessary. Depending on the associated symptoms and the severity of the syndrome, treatment may be based on:

  • Dental treatment (e.g. dentures or implants if teeth are missing)
  • Orthodontic treatment if there is malocclusion or bruxism (wearing a mouthpiece, especially at night)
  • Jaw physiotherapy to learn how to relax the jaw muscles and swallow
  • Orthognathic surgery for jaw malposition
  • Correction of postural dysfunctions.

Manual techniques such as osteopathy can also help not only to remove certain obstacles but also to restore the body’s overall balance through intra- or extra-oral manipulation.

As stress is often the cause of jaw clicking, it is important to learn how to manage it better. Several methods can be used for this purpose: mindfulness meditation, yoga, acupuncture, phytotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, etc.
Prevention is based on stress management and regular dental care.

Content featured by Byte is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed doctor, orthodontist, or dentist. They ensure the information is factual and current.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and each page contains a full list of sources for transparency.

Table of Contents

  1. The Basics
  2. Causes
  3. When to Seek Treatment
  4. Treatment Options
  5. References

Your jaw can pop or click when you open your mouth too wide or overuse the muscle. Often, the clicking and popping will go away on its own. When your jaw clicks and pops more constantly and becomes a chronic condition, this is often a form of TMD, which is also called TMJ.

More than 10 million Americans struggle with temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJ or TMD), and more women are affected than men. This disorder impacts the jaw and can cause it to pop and click. It often also induces pain. 1

TMD is not widely understood. There are a variety of potential causes for the disorder, including stress, injury, teeth grinding, and medical conditions.

The Basics

Your temporomandibular joint connects your mandible (lower jaw) to your temporal bone in the side of your skull. There are muscles that control the movement of your jaw and allow the condyles (rounded ends of your lower jaw) to move smoothly within the joint socket of your temporal bone.

There is a soft disc of cartilage that sits between these two bones to cushion this movement. This disc can move out of place and snap back into its correct location when you open your mouth, making a clicking or popping sound. It can also move back out of place when you close your mouth, again clicking or popping.

Your jaw can pop or click temporarily because of overuse or overextending it, or it can pop and click more regularly due to TMD. With TMD, in addition to the popping and clicking, you can also often experience pain, limited jaw movement, and additional issues. The disorder is reported to be a multisystem and complex condition that impacts the digestive, endocrine, circulatory, immune, muscular, nervous, respiratory, exocrine, reproductive, and skeletal systems.

Causes of Jaw Clicking & Popping

There is no known specific cause for TMD, or jaw popping and clicking. There are risk factors that can play a role, such as the following: 2

  • Teeth grinding
  • Injury to the jaw, which can cause it to become broken or dislocated
  • Nail biting
  • Excessive gum chewing on a regular basis
  • Biting the inside of the lip or cheek
  • Sleep apnea or disrupted sleep
  • Arthritis, which can lead to cartilage damage
  • Myofascial pain syndrome in the jaw
  • Infection of the glands of the mouth
  • Misalignment of jaw or mouth, such as an overbite or underbite (malocclusion)
  • Tumors in the mouth or jaw

Women typically develop TMD more frequently than men, so there could be a connection between female hormones and its onset. Stress can also be a causal factor for jaw popping and clicking.

When to Get Treatment for Jaw Popping

Treatment methods for jaw popping and clicking are dependent on what the underlying cause is. It is common for the jaw to pop and click at times.

Most of the time, jaw popping and clicking will go away in a few weeks or months, and it is not cause for concern. However, it can be the sign of an underlying condition that should be checked out.

If your jaw clicks and pops regularly for a long period of time, and you are experiencing pain and/or other symptoms along with the popping and clicking, you should see a medical professional to find out what the cause might be.

Treatment Options

Typically, jaw clicking and popping is part of a temporary condition. It can often stop on its own without the need for treatment.

When treatment is necessary, the least invasive and non-permanent options are considered best. 3 Try to avoid treatments that are going to change your jaw or bite permanently, or those that are invasive, such as surgery.

Here are some less invasive management and treatment options:

  • Chew soft foods.
  • Avoid extreme or repetitive jaw movements, including gum chewing.
  • Use ice packs for pain.
  • Try over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications for short-term relief.
  • Practice stress management and jaw relaxation techniques.
  • Consider physical therapy and massage.
  • Try wearing nightguards or mouthpieces at night to prevent teeth grinding and clenching while you sleep.
  • Consider dental work. Necessary dental work can correct an overbite or underbite, which can help with jaw popping and clicking and TMD.

Your dentist and medical professional will need to work together to determine the cause of constant jaw popping and clicking, especially if there is also chronic pain and/or additional symptoms that need to be addressed. This can sometimes be related to an underlying medical condition that will need to be addressed.

Most of the time, the best thing to do for jaw popping and clicking is to manage it at home by keeping your jaw relaxed as much as possible. Self-care practices can help with this.

General References

TMJ Basics. (2021). TMJ Association. Date Fetched: September 22, 2021.

Medical References

1 TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint & Muscle Disorders). National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). Date Fetched: September 22, 2021.

2 Why Does My Jaw Hurt?30575-6/fulltext) (December 2019). The Journal of the American Dental Association. Date Fetched: September 22, 2021.

3 Less Is Often Best in Treating TMJ Disorders. (May 2013). National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). Date Fetched: September 22, 2021.

OK, so I’m 12 years old. My breasts are growing fairly quickly, and now I’ve reached to about a b-cup. The problem is, my right breast is growing at a much faster rate then my left breast. Now it looks ridiculously mis-matched, and my right breast even has stretch marks! I’m worried now, will it.

We are getting ready to purchase a 2004 home and it has a small crack ( less than 2mm ) in the brick on the outside of the home underneath the garage. The garage floor has small cracks, really hairline cracks. I have a structural engineer coming out to inspect, what should I be concerned withk?

We have corian countertops and now have a crack in the sink which is one continuous flow from countertop. All one piece. The crack goes all the way through and it leaks to the underneath. The crack is about 12 inches long. Does anyone know if this can be repaired or will we have to replace.

I have a crack in my cast iron oil burner that is in between the 2 rectangular clean out openings right at the bottom of the lifting eye. It seeps water when the furnace gets to the top of the heat cycle and stops as the temp/pressure subsides. I’d estimate it is about 1″-1 1/2 ” long. Would.

OK I know this is not a lot to work with but I heard this song on a classic rock station, you know 70’s 80’s and 90’s anyway the song sort of sounds like a gangster movie its got gun shots, squealin tires, and police sirens but no real lyrics, I believe the dj said it was a song from the band.

How to crack your jaw

How to crack your jaw

If you’re experiencing a jaw popping sensation every time you chew, talk or yawn, it may be from your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Jaw popping refers to a clicking sound from the jaw each time it is engaged, which can be followed by sensations of pain.

How TMJ works

Jaw popping is caused by a dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint. This particular joint is one of the most complex joints in your body, connecting your lower jaw to the temporal bones, allowing it to move side to side and back to front.

This joint allows you the range of motion needed to chew food, yawn and speak. Facial muscles attached to this joint control these movements, while a soft cartilage disc within the joint socket absorbs large amounts of pressure preventing damage.

What causes TMJ issues?

The jaw popping sensation can be the result of trauma, dislocation or a displaced disc. Clenching, grinding, or chewing gum too often can also cause pain and tightness within the facial muscles, especially if there are missing or misaligned teeth.

Jaw popping in most cases may not be a cause for concern, however, those who are experiencing a pain sensation following are recommended to seek medical attention.

How to crack your jaw

Other causes include:

  • Biting fingernails
  • Clenching jaw
  • Grinding teeth (bruxism)
  • Biting lip or cheek
  • Chewing gum excessively

Note: Research has shown that women may be more susceptible to TMJ issues in part because of the collagen holding the disc in the socket is anatomically different, as well as estrogen may have an effect on the joint.

Those who frequently perform these actions can cause wear and tear on the joints, which result in erosion.

Medical conditions which may cause TMJ issues

Arthritis

Both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis may cause damage to the cartilage of the TMJ. Loss of cartilage means there is a law of absorption in the joint socket every time the jaw moves, causing a pain sensation to follow.

Other symptoms include:

  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Inflammation or swelling
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Appetite loss
  • Fatigue

Injury or trauma to the jaw

Any injury sustained from a road traffic collision, sporting accidents, trips and falls or physical assaults may result in a dislocated or broken jaw. This unhinging of the joint can result in jaw popping. If you’re experiencing pain, bruising or swelling, we recommend seeking medical attention immediately.

Myofascial pain syndrome

Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder which causes pain in trigger points of some muscles. It occurs when a muscle is contracted repetitively over time or pressure is applied. It is particularly common in those who have jobs or engage in sporting activities that require repetitive movements.

TMJ issues symptoms for someone who has MPS includes:

  • Jaw pain doesn’t get better after a week
  • Jaw pain that gets worse with straining or stretching
  • Painful knots in muscles
  • Reduced range of motion in affected area

Sleep apnea

Jaw popping can be the result of both obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA). Studies have shown that when the throat begins to relax before an episode of OSA, the jaw will clamp down to prevent the airway from being blocked. This applies excessive stress on the jaw, mouth, neck and shoulders, which may cause TMJ issues.

Infection

Infection of the salivary gland can cause TMJ issues and jaw popping, as well as other symptoms including, dry mouth, face pain, pus in the mouth, foul taste, and swelling of the face and neck. If you suspect you may have an infection, you should medical treatment immediately.

How to treat jaw popping and TMJ issues

There are a number of solutions to remedy jaw popping and treat TMJ. Depending on the cause and symptoms experienced, there are both medical and non-medical treatments available.

Non-medical treatments for TMJ issues

  • OTC medications such as ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation, but if the pain persists, book an appointment to see your dentist.
  • Apply an ice pack to the affected area on the jaw for 10 to 15 minutes, followed by a warm compress of 5 to 10 minutes to relieve pain. This method can be repeated several times a day if needed.
  • Avoid eating crunchy, chewy or hard foods including raw vegetables and fruits, caramel, popcorn, gum or candy. Stick to softer foods such as yoghurt, cooked vegetables, rice, bread and so on. Food should be eaten in smaller bites to avoid opening the jaw too wide.
  • Relax the jaw when possible.
  • Avoid activities that involve opening the mouth too wide, such as singing, yelling or chewing gum.

Medical treatments for TMJ issues

  • A mouthguard or splint can be used to prevent or manage bruxism; clenching and grinding of the teeth during sleep.
  • Prescribed medication can be used to help manage pain caused by TMJ issues.
  • Laser therapy or radio wave therapy helps stimulate movement and ease pain in the jaw, mouth and neck.
  • Dental solutions can help fix any oral issues that may be causing jaw popping, including underbites, overbites, missing and misaligned teeth.
  • As a last resort, surgery may be required.

About The Author

How to crack your jaw

Dr Saurabh Rai took ownership of our Gosnells clinic in 2016. He completed his Bachelor of Dental Science in 2004 in Bangalore, India, followed by his Master of Science in Forensic Science from the University of Western Australia. During this time, he also completed his Australian Dental Council licensing exams from the University of South Australia in Adelaide.

In this Article

  • Causes of Crackling in Ears
  • Treating Ear Crackling
  • When to Talk to Your Doctor

Crackling in your ear is an annoying sound that may remind you of a fresh bowl of a certain puffed rice cereal. It can be a symptom of normal seasonal allergies. It may also be a sign of something more serious.В

Several conditions can cause crackling in your ears. Here’s what you need to know about how it can affect your health.

Causes of Crackling in Ears

Your ears are complicated. They have many small muscles, bones, and nerves that work together to translate soundwaves into something that your brain understands.В

Because of that, there are multiple reasons you might be hearing crackling in your ears. Here are the most common reasons you might notice crackling noises.

Earwax. The simplest reason for crackling noises in your ears is earwax. Too much earwax buildup in your ear canal may make “crackling” noises as you move your jaw. This may happen naturally. It can also be caused by using cotton swabs to clean your ear.

Clogged eustachian tubes. You have tiny eustachian tubes that connect your ears and your sinuses. They help keep the fluid and pressure in your inner and middle ear at the right level.

Your eustachian tubes may not be able to open or close properly when you have allergies, a cold, sinus infections, or polyps or tumors in your nose. This causes ear popping or crackling sounds.

Middle ear infections.  ‌‌Children are typically more likely to have middle ear infections than adults. A middle ear infection is also called “acute otitis media.” It happens when your eustachian tubes are blocked and can’t drain fluid. That fluid can build up and become infected. This leads to crackling sounds in the ear. Other, more obvious symptoms include:

  • Ear pain and pressure
  • Headaches
  • ‌Trouble hearing from an ear
  • ‌Fluid draining from an ear
  • ‌Fever‌

Middle ear myoclonus. Also called MEM, middle ear myoclonus is a type of tinnitus. MEM is different from most types of tinnitus. It’s caused by a spasm in the tiny muscles in your ear.

Either your stapedius or your tensor tympani muscle will shake. This causes your eardrum to vibrate. You hear a crackling, buzzing, or clicking noise as a result.

Temporomandibular joint problems. Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the connection between your jaw and the rest of your head. It’s next to your ears. A problem with your TMJ can cause you to hear strange noises.

‌You may have a TMJ disorder if you have crackling in your ears along with stiffness or pain in your jaw. There could be nothing wrong with your ears.

Treating Ear Crackling

How you treat your crackling ears depends on what’s causing the problem. Your doctor can help you identify why your ears are crackling and offer an effective treatment method.

Many cases of crackling ears will resolve on their own with time. You probably have clogged eustachian tubes if the sound shows up during a cold or with allergies. Using an over-the-counter decongestant can help unclog your ears while you wait for your body to recover.

Your ears could be crackling because of too much earwax. You can use earwax softening kits or have a healthcare professional clean your ear canals for you. Never try to put anything in your ear canals. You may damage your eardrum.‌

Ear infections may require more serious treatment. These infections can lead to permanent hearing loss if they aren’t treated. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms if you have ear pain or a fever. They will examine your ears. They may prescribe you an antibiotic if it looks like you have a bacterial infection.‌

If you have TMJ issues, your doctor will focus on treating your joint. They may prescribe muscle relaxants to relieve joint pain and stiffness. They may recommend physical therapy or TMJ surgery if that doesn’t work.

When to Talk to Your Doctor

Crackling in your ears is not usually dangerous unless you also have ear pain or a fever. You only need to ask your doctor for their advice if the noise bothers you or lasts a long time.

You should reach out for medical advice if you experience pain, pressure, headaches, or fever in combination with the crackling sound. These can all be signs of more serious problems like ear infections. Untreated ear infections can lead to permanent hearing loss. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Show Sources

‌Clinical Otolaryngology: “Eustachian tube dysfunction: consensus statement on definition, types, clinical presentation and diagnosis.”

‌ENThealth: “Earwax (Cerumen Impaction).”

‌frontiers in Neuroscience: “Impact of Temporomandibular Joint Complaints on Tinnitus-Related Distress.”

MAYO CLINIC: “Ear infection (middle ear),” “TMJ disorders.”

‌Tremor and Other Hyperkinetic Movements: “Middle Ear Myoclonus: Two Informative Cases and a Systematic Discussion of Myogenic Tinnitus.”

‌University of Rochester Medical Center: “Anatomy and Physiology of the Ear.”

January 10, 2019

How to crack your jaw

Table of Contents

We all experience clicking or popping in the jaw from time to time. When clicking and popping becomes a common occurrence, however, it could indicate a chronic issue within the jaw joint. If you experience clicking or popping in the jaw, here’s what you should know.

Because they are such complex structures, our jaw joints tend to pop or click from time to time, especially if we move them in an awkward manner. People typically report two types of jaw popping. The first is a normal occurrence that happens when the jaw is open wide, and the lower jaw bone passes over a small ridge in the upper jaw bone. The other kind of popping is more concerning because it involves the displacement of the cartilage-like disc within the joint.

When jaw popping and clicking happens most or all of the time, it could be a sign of TMJ Disorder . Over time, this issue can wear down the jaw joint, leading to a myriad of unpleasant symptoms.

What is TMJ Disorder?

TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is a condition affecting the temporomandibular joint. One of the most complex joints in the entire body, the temporomandibular joint is responsible for moving the jaw backward, forward and side-to-side. Any issue that keeps this complex system of discs, bones, ligaments and muscles from functioning properly is called TMD or TMJ disorder. With that said, it’s not always clear why the disorder occurs. According to the Mayo Clinic and the American Dental Association , the most common causes include trauma, improper jaw alignment and osteoarthritis.

What are the Symptoms of TMD?

Temporomandibular joint disorder can have a variety of signs and symptoms, which can leave patients feeling confused. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Severe headaches that seem like migraines
  • Earaches and/or pressure or pain behind the eyes
  • Jaw popping or jaw clicking when chewing
  • Jaw popping or clicking when yawning
  • Pain when chewing, yawning or talking
  • Jaw that gets locked or stuck in the same position
  • Tenderness of the muscles within the jaw
  • Change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together

How to Fix a Clicking Jaw

If your jaw popping isn’t serious, it should go away on its own after a week or two. If it persists or worsens over time, however, there’s a good chance you may be suffering from TMJ disorder.

Your dentist can determine whether you are suffering from TMD by conducting an examination, reviewing your dental and medical history, and taking appropriate X-rays. If you do have TMD, there are a variety of treatment options available, based on the severity of your issue. TMD treatments include comfort measures, changes in behavior, pain medications, muscle relaxers, steroid injections, oral splints and physical therapy.

If these treatments fail to relieve your TMD symptoms, you can talk to your dentist or oral surgeon about having TMJ surgery . In some instances, minor arthroscopic surgery is enough to improve or eliminate TMD symptoms. In other instances, patients may require extensive jaw replacement surgery, especially if the jaw joint has begun to degenerate due to trauma, osteoarthritis or a genetic disorder. Talk to your dentist or surgeon about TMJ surgery recovery times and expectations to make an informed decision about treating your TMD.

This information has been reviewed by the Gentle Dental Clinical review committee.

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders affect between 5-12% of the population. The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. We have two TMJs, one on each side of the face. Osteoarthritis is one of many TMJ disorders that can develop in either one or both of the TMJs. Development of temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis can be very crippling as it is the joint that allows for the jaw to open and close, making it possible for us to eat, talk and yawn.

Symptoms of TMJ osteoarthritis

Common symptoms of TMJ osteoarthritis are pain and stiffness in the jaw. It may become difficult to chew or yawn due to painful and stiff jaw muscles. Symptoms are similar to those of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis arthritis of the TMJ.

Symptoms of TMJ osteoarthritis include:

  • Jaw pain and/or discomfort
  • Tight jaw muscles
  • Difficulties yawning and chewing
  • Grinding or cracking sensation in the jaw
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Headache
  • Toothache
  • Earache
  • Pain in the face or neck

If you experience any of these symptoms you should schedule an appointment with a dentist, orthodontist or a doctor to get a diagnosis.

Several risk factors play a part

There is no single cause for the development of TMJ osteoarthritis and several risk factors tend to contribute to the disease. A main risk factor for TMJ osteoarthritis is repetitive movement of the jaw, such as teeth grinding, jaw clenching or gum chewing over a long period of time. However, these repetitive movements do not necessarily lead to osteoarthritis or other temporomandibular joint disorders.

TMJ osteoarthritis can also be post-traumatic, meaning that osteoarthritis has affected the jaw as a result of a previous jaw injury. Misaligned teeth and TMJ disorders are also risk factors for TMJ osteoarthritis. Age, female sex and genetics are general risk factors for osteoarthritis in all joints.

How TMJ osteoarthritis is diagnosed

TMJ osteoarthritis should primarily be diagnosed by a healthcare professional through an assessment based on the patient’s medical history, joint function, jaw sounds and pain level.

The healthcare professional will also take risk factors into account and keep them in mind when establishing the diagnosis. If you experience pain or stiffness in your jaw and suspect that you may have osteoarthritis, a good first step is to contact your dentist or your primary healthcare center and schedule an appointment to receive the right diagnosis.

In certain cases, a radiographic examination can be performed to supplement clinical findings. However, this is not necessary for diagnosis.

Treating TMJ osteoarthritis

First-line treatment for TMJ osteoarthritis is patient education (learning more about the disease), and jaw exercises/stretching. Individualized exercises for the jaw can help relieve jaw pain and stiffness by relaxing the muscles. These should be coordinated by a physical therapist or a dentist. A physical therapist can also provide manual therapy, which involves hands-on manipulation of the jaw.

If a habit of teeth grinding or jaw clenching is making symptoms worse, a dental guard (usually worn at night) may help to counteract damaging jaw movements. A dental guard can be obtained by a dentist or an orthodontist.

As a complement to first-line treatment, non-prescription painkillers may be used for short periods of time. You should however always discuss the use of painkillers with your dentist or doctor to avoid side effects and drug interaction.

Other treatment methods

If first-line treatment doesn’t provide satisfactory symptom relief, other treatment methods may be necessary.

On occasion, cortisone injections are used as a complement to treat severe TMJ osteoarthritis. These injections only offer short-term symptom relief and should be administered by an experienced dentist or oral surgeon. Cortisone injections should be used with caution as excessive injections may further damage the joint.

Surgery can provide good results for many patients, although no surgery is risk-free. With surgery comes the risk of developing blood clots and infections. The most commonly performed operation for osteoarthritis of the TMJ is arthroscopic jaw surgery. Joint replacement surgery is also an option, although this is a lot more invasive than arthroscopic jaw surgery.

In today’s FAQ video, we answer the question “Why does my jaw pop when I yawn?” Watch below to hear our answer and leave any questions you may have in the comments section below .

If you are dealing with jaw pain and would like to know how we can help, call us at (512) 693-8849.

Video Transcription [Please excuse grammatical errors due to the conversational nature of the video]:

Why does my jaw pop when I yawn?

On my first year of PT school, I worked at a TMJ or jaw specialty clinic. So, I got to see a ton of jaw patients, and I’ll try not to get too technical. If you feel like you’re having jaw pops when you yawn, it means… There are two joints with one bone in between. And when you open the top of the the mandible or the jaw bone, it glides forward. There’s this little thing called a meniscus or disc on top of the mandible that is supposed to glide with it as it opens.

What happens sometimes is that it will either slip off the meniscus, or much more commonly, that the meniscus is dislocated forward. And so it starts to glide and then pops off before colliding back and recapturing the disk, causing the pop you often hear. That’s usually what causes the pop. Often there’s a pop going out.

All that’s to say, a lot of people have popping jaws and it’s really not an issue. So even if there’s no pain associated with it, you might still want to get it checked out to see if it might become a painful issue. Problems, issues when it was painful—especially if you’re having an increase in the amount of popping or pop volume. At that point, you’re probably heading towards your jaw getting locked open or closed, which can be quite scary incident.

So if you’re having loud popping and it’s getting worse, then definitely get someone to check it out. (Click here to request a free call with one of our expert physical therapists.) But that is generally why sometimes your jaw pops when you yawn.

Thanks so much for joining us, and that’s it for this episode of “Frequently Asked Questions.”

But if you have any questions that you’d like us to answer about anything you’re dealing with, leave them in the comments below, and we’ll do more videos like this if we get enough people asking questions. Thank you.

How to crack your jaw

Temporomandibular joint disorder involves pain and stiffness in the joint where the jawbone meets the skull. One of the common symptoms is a popping or clicking sensation when opening or closing the jaw.

Video of the Day

In some cases, TMJ disorder is caused by injury, but stress and jaw abnormalities and poor posture can contribute to the condition. Some medical professionals may recommend surgery and orthodontics to correct the problem; however, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research recommends gentle stretching and TMJ exercises for jaw popping.

1. Check Your Postural Alignment

Poor posture, such as holding your head forward or to the side can contribute to TMJ disorder, according to a January 2018 article published by Journal of Physical Therapy Science. TMJ exercises to stop clicking pull the head back to a neutral position and draw the shoulders into their natural position to help relieve the stiffness and other TMJ symptoms.

  1. Stand with your back and shoulder blades against the wall.
  2. Bring your shoulder blades together to draw your shoulders back and down.
  3. Tuck your chin and shift your head until the back of your head touches the wall.
  4. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds and release.
  5. Repeat five times.

2. Tongue Exercise

Target the tongue in your TMJ exercises to stop clicking in your jaw. Perform these exercises in front of a mirror, as recommended by Cork University Dental School & Hospital.

  1. Gently rest your back teeth together.
  2. Rest the tip of your tongue behind your front teeth.
  3. Curl your tongue along the roof of your mouth, as far backward as possible.
  4. Keeping your tongue in this position, slowly open your mouth.
  5. Hold this position for five seconds; then relax for five seconds.
  6. Repeat 10 times.

3. Neck Stretches

Sit up tall with your spine straight before performing neck stretches. Relax your jaw and look straight ahead.

  1. Sit comfortably with your shoulders and head in a neutral position.
  2. Tilt your head forward and gently press your hand against the back of your head to increase the stretch.
  3. Hold for up to 30 seconds and return to the neutral position.
  4. Look up and extend your chin toward the ceiling, while keeping your head from falling backward.
  5. Hold for up to 30 seconds and release.
  6. Tilt your head to the right and gently press against the left side to increase the stretch.
  7. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat the same motion on the right.
  8. Circle your head clockwise four times, keeping your head from falling back past your shoulders; then rotate counterclockwise.

4. Jaw Stretches

Include jaw stretches to release tight jaw muscles and help retrain the jaw to its natural position.

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Stress can have a major negative impact on our health. In fact, Whenever stressful situations happen, it affects our mind, our energy, and our general behavior. But oftentimes we forget that stress has a deeper influence on our body and the subconscious mind. And one negative consequence of it is the excessive jaw clenching from stress.

I had a similar situation a few months back. My dentist told me that for the first time, he was having multiple patients younger than 30 with excessive symptoms of bruxism, jaw clenching disease. When it happens at this age, it’s usually a sign of stress.

When I got back home I did some research on the topic and found that this condition is happening all over the world. Dentists from different parts of the world are noticing an increase in this condition among the younger generation.

So, while this may seem like a serious condition, the good news is it’s usually treatable.

In this article, I’m going to reveal how stress affects your dental health and what you can do to stop clenching your jaw.

What You Will Learn

How is Stress Related to Clenching Your Jaws?

Every time you experience stress, emotions start rushing in your brain and body. These emotions can be the reason for showing symptoms of any stress-related conditions.

In 2013, a group of Finish scientists conducted research to show how emotions affect humans. They built a heat map around 700 volunteers and showed them different words, situations, and scenarios. The participants had to point out where they feel the most emotional regarding the situations.

Here is a visual :

How to crack your jaw

The researchers found out that the reactions to different situations are almost universal.

They are tied to biological systems rather than cultural, personal or common practices.

As you can see, people react almost instantly, to any kind of negative or positive emotion.

Research shows that one of the first things people do after experiencing stressful situations is tightening the muscles of the face and jaw, as well as around the eyes and mouth.

Also, experiencing stress daily may cause chronic pain in the neck and shoulders.

It can be the reason for developing heart diseases, obesity, anxiety, gastrovascular diseases, etc.

However, there are minor health-related issues caused by stress that in the long run, can become severe.

This is when teeth grinding and jaw clenching might start to happen. It might be a natural way of dealing with stress for you personally, one that you might not even notice. You might hold your jaw open when you’re awake and keep it tight during your sleep.

Jaw clenching or bruxism is a condition when you grind, clench or gnash your teeth.

It can happen while you’re awake, but it usually happens during your sleep.

These are some of the symptoms of bruxism:

  • Increased pain in your face, ears or jaw
  • Significant pain while you chew or yawn
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Increased tooth pain
  • Headaches

If it goes untreated, this condition can become severe. It can be the main reason for worn-down teeth, which ultimately, can lead to tooth loss.

The main thing to do next time you’re stressed is to try to focus on your body and feel in which part you experience the pain. If you notice the jaw clenching as one of the signs, stay calm and remember that there are few things you can do to alleviate the stress on your jaw.

What You Can Do To Stop Clenching Your Jaw?

Here are a few things you can do to prevent or stop clenching your jaw again.

1. Visit Your Dentist

Of course, the first logical thing you should do is to visit your doctor. Talk the symptoms with him/her, let them know when did you start to notice this happening.

Jaw clenching may happen from stress, but it may also not. So, before your dentist can diagnose you with something, he/she should know all the info related to it.

2. Try a Manual Jaw Exercise

You can do some exercise by yourself, to relax your jaw.

Start by doing small mouth-opening and mouth closing for warm-up.

After that, put your fingers on the four bottom teeth at the front and start pulling down.

Keep that position for 30 seconds and then slowly put your jaw in the normal position.

Another exercise you can do is this one: put your tongue behind your upper front teeth.

Then slowly open the bottom jaw, to keep the teeth away from each other.

You can do this several times and remember to keep your jaw relaxed.

Here’s one educational video on how to massage your jaw, that should help you with this condition.

Most street drugs are illegal for good reason. Along with often being addictive, they’re bad for you in many ways.

You may have noticed that many drug addicts have bad teeth. That’s because drugs such as methamphetamine (meth), heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, and even marijuana can cause problems for your teeth and gums. Here are a few of the main reasons:

  • They all can cause dry mouth, which means you make less saliva. You need saliva to clean your teeth.
  • Drugs that are stimulants — like meth, cocaine, and ecstasy — can make you clench or grind your teeth. This weakens your teeth and can even make them break. It also can cause pain in your jaw.
  • If you abuse drugs, especially stronger ones like meth or heroin, you’re less likely to take good care of your teeth or go to the dentist. That can let decay quickly get worse.
  • Many people who use drugs also smoke. This can make the effects of drug use on your mouth worse.

Here are some other ways common street drugs can hurt your mouth.

Methamphetamine (Meth)
In one study, 96% of people who used meth had cavities and 58% had untreated tooth decay. People use the term “meth mouth” to describe this condition of stained, badly damaged teeth.

One reason for the damage is that the drug is acidic and causes vomiting and reflux. And even though it makes you less hungry, it makes you crave soda and sweets.

The damage can happen in a short amount of time and often leads to the loss of teeth.

Heroin
People who inject heroin into their veins can expect damage similar to what’s caused by meth — rotten, discolored, broken, and missing teeth, as well as gum disease.

Heroin is a pain-killing drug. So in addition to the ways most illegal drugs can hurt your mouth, it also may cause you to ignore the pain of damaged teeth and gums. That lets the problems get worse.

Cocaine
This drug can have different effects on your mouth, depending on how you take it. When you snort it, cocaine can damage the tissue between your nose and the roof of your mouth, eventually causing a hole and making it hard to talk or eat.

Like meth, it’s very acidic. So when you smoke crack or put powdered cocaine in your mouth, the acids coat your teeth and can break down their protective enamel. This can cause gum disease and tooth decay. If you rub it on your gums, it can cause mouth sores.

Marijuana
Smoke from pot is a carcinogen and can cause mouth cancer. In addition, if you smoke pot often, you can develop something called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which leads to nausea and vomiting. The acids from your stomach that end up in your mouth can wear away enamel and lead to tooth decay.

Show Sources

Saini G. Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, Sept-Oct 2013.

Bassiouny M. Substance Abuse, Nov 2012.

Victoria State Government: “Teeth and Drug Use.”

National Institute on Drug Abuse: “High Rates of Dental and Gum Disease Occur Among Methamphetamine Users.”

American Dental Association: “Meth Mouth.”

Mouth Healthy: “Meth Mouth: How Methamphetamine Use Affects Dental Health.”

Medscape: “Methamphetamine, Heroin Users Both Suffer from ‘Meth Mouth.'”

Brand H. British Dental Journal, April 2008.

If you have pain or tenderness in your jaw or if your jaw is making popping or clicking sounds, you may have TMJ pain. It’s estimated that 12% of people in the United States experience TMJ pain at some point so it’s far from rare and you don’t have to just live with the pain that it causes.

If you’re ready to get relief from your TMJ pain we’ve got some good news for you! Not only do chiropractic TMJ adjustments help ease the pain when you visit a chiropractor but you can also do some soft tissue work at home to help loosen up your jaw muscles and reduce pain. TMJ adjustments are quick and provide relief to pesky TMJ pain.

In this video, you’ll see Dr. Blake demonstrate some exercises you can do at home to help ease your TMJ pain and you’ll also see how seeing a chiropractor to help with TMJ works and what you can expect.

What is TMJ?

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD), more commonly known as TMJ is a blanket term for acute or chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint (which is what connects your mandible to your skull). TMJ is a commonly used term that refers to a wide variety of conditions that affect TM joints, jaw muscles, and facial nerves.

Your jaw joint, also known as the TM joint, exists to connect the lower jaw bone (that’s your mandible) to the temporal bones of the skull on each side of the head. The muscles controlling the joints are attached to the mandible and allow the jaw to move.

The TM joint works in 2 different ways. It’s first function is to exist as a hinge to open and close your mouth. The second function is a sliding motion called translation, where your lower jaw moves down and forward. This motion helps the TM joint to move backward and forward and from side to side to help making tasks like chewing, singing, and yawning possible.

When you open your mouth, the rounded upper ends of the mandible on each side of the jaw glide along the joint socket at the base of the skull. When you close your mouth they slide back to their original position. When those rounded upper ends of the mandible slide back into place as you close your mouth, you may hear a pop or a click. This popping or clicking sound is a hallmark of TMJ.

TMJ is very common, especially among younger people. The causes of TMJ include direct injury/trauma to the jaw, teeth grinding, nail-biting, degenerative joint diseases like arthritis, infections, and autoimmune diseases. Approximately 12% of the US population is experiencing TMJ at any time and many of them don’t realize that a chiropractor can help with the pain that comes along with TMJ. Many people believe that they have to just deal with TMJ pain and that’s simply not true! Many of our patients with TMJ come in for a chiropractic TMJ adjustment and experience immediate relief that improves over time.

TMJ has a wide range of symptoms including:

  • ear pain
  • headaches
  • neck pain
  • jaw pain or soreness
  • jaw pain when biting or chewing
  • difficulty opening and closing the mouth
  • popping or clicking noises when opening the mouth
  • jaw stiffness
  • tinnitus
  • dizziness
  • sensitive teeth when no other dental problems can be found

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be experiencing TMJ and we can help! Follow the instructions in the video above to perform the soft tissue techniques on yourself and click here to schedule an appointment for your TMJ chiropractic adjustment.

Chiropractic TMJ Adjustment

When you visit us with jaw pain we’ll focus on 3 key muscles: the masseter, the temporalis, and the pterygoid. We’ll also pay close attention to the suboccipital muscles, the jaw joint itself and the top 2 vertebrae because they greatly impact the jaw joint and we want to make sure everything is aligned properly.

Your masseter is a thick, deep muscle in the upper jaw area that exists to allow us to chew our food. If you put your hand on your cheek and open and close your mouth you can feel your masseter. Your temporalis is a thinner, clam-shaped muscle on each side of the head. This muscle is crucial for chewing and covers a broader area than the masseter including the area around your temples.

In the video above, Dr. Blake walks through some soft tissue techniques that you can do at home for the masseter and the temporalis. In order to work on the masseter, place two fingers flat against your jaw as shown in the video. Press inward with flat fingers and then up to put pressure on your masseter and then open and close your mouth. From there, you can move up to the next part of the masseter and continue to do a total of 3 repetitions to complete 1 set of this exercise. If you’re currently experiencing jaw pain, we recommend doing 3 sets of this exercise 3 times per day.

This same exercise can be applied to the temporalis as well. When working on the temporalis you’ll want to use all 4 finger pads. Use the same movement and pressure as you did in the masseter exercise but remember, the temporalis will require less pressure than the masseter because it is a thinner muscle. We recommend doing 3 sets of this exercise on your temporalis 3 times per day for TMJ jaw pain relief.

Doing soft tissue work on the pterygoid is more complicated to do yourself so you’ll want to consult a chiropractor for this. As you can see in the video, the pterygoid release requires leverage against the cheek between your cheek and your teeth. This is typically the most uncomfortable soft tissue to work on because it’s rarely as strong as your masseter or temporalis.

Once we’ve completed soft tissue work for jaw pain we move on to adjust and assess the jaw in a chiropractic TMJ adjustment. During the TMJ adjustment, your chiropractor will feel for which side of the jaw joint opens the least amount and which one opens last to identify which side should be worked on first. We adjust the stuck side of the jaw first and then the other side with a light push motion. After this adjustment, we reassess and often find that the jaw joint is realigned. If the jaw is very tight, TMJ treatment can be combined with dry needling or with class 4 laser treatment to speed up the healing process of the tissue.

We treat many patients who have TMJ and the jaw pain that comes along with it. Do you suffer from TMJ? Click here to schedule your appointment for your chiropractic TMJ adjustment.