Can a Clicking Jaw Be Considered As a Sign of TMD?

Can a Clicking Jaw Be Considered As a Sign of TMD?

Jan 01, 2023

A clicking jaw accompanied by pain in the jaw joints can also happen by overextending your jaw. Yawning widely or eating can also cause clicking sounds in your jaw. However, in many cases, the discomfort results from problems in the function of your temporomandibular joint or joints connecting your jawbone to the side of your skull.

Jaw clicking without discomfort is not a cause for concern. However, you might require medical intervention if some health problems underline the clicking sounds. The medical fraternity doesn’t understand the precise reasons for the clicking. The clicking sound is treatable at home with self-managed care if you don’t experience pain or other symptoms.

Difference between TMJ and TMD

The dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint is termed a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). However, TMD is often incorrectly spoken about as TMJ.

Symptoms of TMJ and TMD

Jaw clicking may not be the only symptom you might experience if you are affected by the joint disorder. In addition, the clicking might be accompanied by pain and discomfort, tenderness in the jaw, challenges opening your mouth widely, locking the jaw in an open or closed position, challenges eating, facial swelling, toothache, headache, earache, and neck ache.

The Causes of TMD

Doctors think TMD arises from problems with the jaw muscles or the temporomandibular joints. The National Institute of craniofacial research states TMD affects over 10 million women suffering from pain more than men. However, the discomfort can affect anyone regardless of age or gender by making them experience jaw clicking linked with practices like teeth grinding, gum-chewing, nail-biting, jaw clenching, and biting the insides of the lips and cheeks. In addition, medical conditions can also result in jaw clicking.

Arthritis, Broken or Injured Jaw, Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Sleep Apnea, Malocclusion in Your Teeth

The above conditions can all result in TMD making people experience clicking sounds in their jaw besides causing discomfort with the symptoms described earlier. Occasionally TMD occurs from infections of the glands in the mouth. In addition, tumors developing in any part of the mouth and some locations can affect jaw motion leading to the clicking sounds developing. Some tumors also need cancer treatment.

Diagnosing TMD

The clicking of the jaw is a temporary condition that clears itself with self-managed care and home remedies besides lifestyle changes. However, if you experience clicking accompanied by pain or other symptoms as described, you must consult the dentist in Richmond Hill to get the condition diagnosed.

The dentist, a TMJ specialist near you, will inquire about your symptoms and examine your jaw. They will also listen to and feel your jaw asking you to open and close your mouth. They observe the range of movement and press on specific areas to identify pain sites. If the specialist thinks you have a problem, they suggest dental x-rays to examine your teeth and jaw, CT scans to view comprehensive images of the bone involved in the TMD joint, and MRI scans to reveal problems with the joint’s disk or the soft tissues surrounding it.

Tips for Treating TMD

The symptoms of TMD disappear themselves without treatment in some cases. However, if you have persistent symptoms, you can obtain TMJ/TMD treatment in Richmond Hill, NY, using various options combined simultaneously.

The specialist might recommend pain relievers and anti-inflammatories purchased over the counter. Unfortunately, if the medications don’t provide relief, they will prescribe a more potent pain reliever for a limited period.

Tricyclic antidepressants used for depression are also helpful for pain relief; if used in low doses can help control problems like bruxism, sleeplessness, et cetera. They might also suggest muscle relaxants to help relieve the pain caused by TMD and created by muscle spasms.

Treatment for TMD also includes occlusal splints providing benefits by wearing a soft and firm device over your teeth, although the reasons these devices are beneficial need to be clarified. In addition, you can benefit from physical therapy with exercises to stretch your jaw muscles to strengthen them. The treatments might include ultrasound, moist ice, and heat. Finally, education and counseling that help understand the factors and behaviors that aggravate your pain can also help avoid discomfort from TMD. Some examples of education and counseling include clenching your teeth, leaning on your chin, or biting fingernails.

Jaw clicking is a temporary condition that clears up with home treatments and lifestyle changes. However, it is essential to address the underlying causes of the clicking to prevent further complications.

Caring dentistry of Queens provides specialized treatment for jaw clicking accompanied by pain if you are affected by a TMD. Consulting this practice will help determine whether you need medical treatment or can manage the condition with self-management and care at home for relief.

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