Should I Be Worried About My Jaw Popping When I’m Chewing?

Man wearing glasses with a questioning look on his face.
Man wearing glasses with a questioning look on his face.

Snap, crackle, pop!

If that is your jaw and not your morning bowl of Rice Krispies making all that noise, then you need to find out why.

Jaw popping sounds when chewing is caused by a variety of things. Some of the causes are not serious and can be treated at home; others are more serious and should be treated by a professional.

What’s causing your jaw popping, and what can you do about it?

The causes of your jaw popping when chewing

If you experience jaw clicking and popping when you try to chew or speak, you are not alone.

Millions of Americans report having the same issue. Something to keep in mind is that although it’s a common experience, that doesn’t make it normal.

When not accompanied by pain or discomfort however, it’s not usually a cause for great concern.

Some of the innocuous reasons people experience clicks and pops in the jaw include:

  • Opening the mouth too wide
  • Nail-biting
  • Chewing gum regularly
  • Jaw clenching
  • Lip or cheek biting

These behaviors don’t usually have accompanying pain, and the resulting jaw popping can be treated by eliminating or controlling the behavior.

However, what if jaw popping is causing you discomfort?

What can you do?

Home remedies to try

You could experience some slight discomfort when your jaw pops.

What can you do to get relief?

Here are a few simple pain-relieving home remedies to try:

Jaw stretching exercises: Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth and open your mouth as wide as you comfortably can. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds. Then, move your lower jaw out as far as it can go and then back in as far as it can go. Again, holding the position for 5-10 seconds.

Heat and ice packs: Using an ice pack first, hold it against the jaw for 10 to 15 minutes. Follow that up with the heat pack for 5 to 10 minutes. Do this alternating treatment several times of day until the discomfort disappears.

Avoid hard or crunchy foods and take small bites: Crunchy foods can aggravate your jaw, so try eating only soft, easy-to-chew foods. When you eat, take small bites and avoid opening your mouth too wide.

Use stress management: Stress can cause your neck, shoulder, and jaw muscles to tighten, causing teeth clenching. Try relaxing these muscles with some light physical exercise or deep-breathing exercisesOpens in WebMD website.

Practice good posture: Sitting and standing correctly can ease pressure in the jaw muscles. Make a conscious effort to sit and stand up straight, with the spine in proper alignment.

These remedies will often help to lessen or eliminate any discomfort you may have with your jaw popping.

But what if the pain is more intense?

When should you seek the help of a professional to deal with your symptoms?

Get professional help for a lasting solution

Many experience jaw popping and pain that becomes severe enough to interfere with their everyday life. When that happens, it’s time to seek the help of a professional.

Oftentimes, the cause of this more intense pain can be traced to TMJ disorder.

TMJ disorder (TMD) is caused by misalignment of the jaws and teeth and can lead to painful symptoms that make it hard to enjoy life.

Some of those symptoms include:

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Clenching and grinding the teeth
  • Jaw clicking and popping
  • Muscle tension in the face and neck
  • Uneven tooth wear or broken teeth
  • Limited range of motion in the head, neck, and jaw
  • Ear pain

Dr. Greg Pyle can help you find permanent relief from the pain caused by TMJ disorder by treating the root cause of your symptoms.

Hooray!

Treatment is non-invasive, painless, and drug-free.

If you live in the Muncie, Anderson, Yorktown, Selma, New Castle or Middletown Park areas, make an appointment today with our TMJ treatment expert and end your jaw popping and pain for good!

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