Many of us have had the experience of yawning and feeling the jaw joint pop from overextension, but is it normal for the jaw joint to click, pop or grind when chewing and talking? The short answer is no. When the jaw functions properly, it will open and close smoothly and quietly. It will also feel comfortable to eat just about anything on the menu.
When the jaw joint starts to act up – making sounds or causing pain – it can mean that something is not functioning the way it should. At our Katoomba dental clinic, our dentists routinely examine jaw function to ensure that patients remain comfortable whether yawning, laughing or enjoying a meal with friends.
Jaw health is part of overall dental health and being able to chew food like crunchy vegetables can help with whole-body wellness. So, if you have noticed that you avoid certain foods because it’s hard on your jaw, we welcome you to come in for a jaw exam.
What Causes Jaws to Lock or Click?
Oftentimes, jaw dysfunction, called TMD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction), occurs due to trauma such as an auto or sporting accident. Other times, the cause could be more subtle – like the bite not coming together correctly or misaligned teeth.
Your Katoomba dentist will palpate the jaw joint while the patient opens and closes to determine if a jaw condition is present. Other diagnostics, such as x-rays, can also reveal important information.
Other signs can include:
- Ringing ears
- Facial or neck pain
- Sensitive teeth
- Bite marks inside the mouth
- Wear on the teeth
TMD and teeth grinding sometimes go hand-in-hand. If your partner or family notice nighttime teeth grinding, an exam at Katoomba Dental Centre can determine if a nightguard, sometimes called a splint, might help protect teeth from grinding while promoting the relaxation of jaw muscles.
Do You Have Headaches or Jaw Pain?
Our compassionate dental team may be able to provide relief for some of the most common symptoms associated with jaw pain. We welcome you to call to arrange an appointment and get the relief you need.