Temperomandibular (TMJ) sounds can occur occasionally or be present at all times. The most common jaw joint noises include clicking, popping, crunching or clunking. Jaw joint noises may represent an underlying TMJ dysfunction such as disc displacement, subluxation or TMJ arthritis. TMJ noises can also be accompanied by jaw pain.
You may experience TMJ noises without any pain or limitation in your jaw function. However, you also may notice:
Jaw noise is typically caused by the TMJ disc (cartilage) shifting position. It can also be caused by the TMJ being hypermobile and partially slipping out of the socket.
This can be caused by:
The primary risk for TMJ disc displacement is a closed locked jaw and you may experience inability to open your mouth normally. In cases of hypermobility of the TMJs the jaw may lock open.
Factors that may increase the noises caused by TMJ also include:
Painful TMJ clicking with catching or locking will likely require treatment. The treatment is typically non-surgical and you are likely to see improvement in your jaw pain and dysfunction. Surgery is rarely required however, in some cases it is necessary.
If the TMJ clicking is painful or associated with catching or locking, it is best to visit your dentist or doctor for treatment.
To consult an Oral Medicine Specialist regarding your TMJ clicking, ask your doctor or dentist to refer you to TeleOralMedicine.