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why does my jaw crack all the time

If "snap," "crackle" and "pop" aren't coming from your cereal, it may be from your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). TMJ complications affect over 10 million people, according to the, and it's more of an issue for women than men. Although it may be alarming, you can effectively determine if your clicking jaw is just a temporary annoyance or a sign of a more advanced temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). The temporomandibular joint can move side to side, as well as backward and forward, making it one of the most complex joints in your body. Connecting your lower jaw to the temporal bones at the side of your head, according to the, the joint allows you the range of motion needed to speak, yawn and chew food. Facial muscles attached to this joint control these movements, while a soft cartilage disc within the joint socket absorbs massive amounts of pressure so no single motion does any damage. Trauma, dislocation or a displaced disc can all contribute to an audible jaw disorder, but the exact cause of TMD is often unknown. Nonetheless, clenching and grinding can cause pain and tightness in the facial muscles especially if the teeth are not in alignment whereas various types of arthritis can affect the joint itself. Researchers feel that women may be more susceptible to
in part because the collagen holding the disk in the socket is anatomically different in women. Female hormones might have an effect on the joint, as well. The most common symptom of TMD is pain in the joint itself or the chewing muscles that attach to it. Other signs include locking of the jaw or restricted movement, changes in the way your teeth come together and recurring headaches. A painful grinding or popping in your joint can be a warning, of course, but a clicking sound in your jaw or limited movement "without pain" isn't always an indication of a, nor does it need treatment. For most people, symptoms are mild and often disappear spontaneously. For others, the pain can be persistent and debilitating. Whenever you experience a sign of TMD, see your dentist as soon as you can. These signs are what your dentist considers when taking a detailed dental and medical history.

He or she will ask for specifics concerning your symptoms, and perform a careful examination that includes observing the movement of your jaw and feeling for tightness or tenderness in the facial muscles. A panoramic X-ray can also help reveal or rule out a serious joint issue. Although, if more detail is needed, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a cat scan (CT) may be necessary. Your dentist is ultimately looking to exclude other causes of discomfort before making a diagnosis. These include sinus infections, toothaches, earaches, arthritis and even some neurological conditions. The NICR strongly recommends conservative, nonsurgical treatments for TMD. Custom bite guards or splints, fabricated to stabilize your bite, are one of the most common. Because most cases of TMD are temporary in nature, taking the following steps to relieve discomfort may be just the thing: Eat soft foods. Alternate applying ice and moist heat on your joint. Avoid excessive jaw movements wide yawning, chewing gum or taking big bites of tall sandwiches. Practice stress-reducing techniques. Follow gentle stretching exercises, as suggested by your dentist or physical therapist. Use over-the-counter pain or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications as directed by your dentist or doctor. Good oral health means brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste like, and seeing your dentist regularly for cleanings. Keep in mind that not all jaw pain comes from overextension; you can keep your TM joint in good health by avoiding excessive jaw movements or biting down on hard objects, too. If you clench or grind your teeth at night, wearing a while you sleep can also help prevent symptoms of TMD. And remember, if you do experience a clicking jaw with no pain it's probably not TMD. But it's still a good idea to mention your noisy jaw at your next checkup. Exploring TMJ Disorder Symptoms:б Crepitus БWhy is my jaw popping? Б Do you experience clicking, cracking and popping when your jaw opens or closes? Sometimes we all experience temporary jaw sounds. БCrepitusБ is the medical term for any clicking, popping or grinding sound that emanates from a joint and, in many cases, it is the result from pressure causing movement and a release of nitrogen gas and bursting. б Again, any of these symptoms can be one-time experiences or temporary annoyances.

However, in other cases these sounds can be a symptom of an underlying, more severe issue in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This article will cover the differences between jaw popping that may be associated with TMJD and normal joint functions. In a fascinating study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, scientists actually recorded the jaws of their patients. In the study, three dentists listened to and classified the sound recordings as 1) no sound, 2) click, 3) coarse crepitus and 4) fine crepitus. The sounds were recorded with microphones in the ear canal from 126 subjects during vertical opening. The recordings were then digitized and replayed using a computer sound card and speakers. The dentists found that the sounds made by the jaws of patients with TMJ Disorders were Бsignificantly differentБ than the sounds made by those without the condition. б Further, studies by dentist/author Rickne Scheid showed that over one-third of his students had some sort of signs of the sound in one side of their jaws. This means that not every case of jaw popping and jaw noise points to a TMJ Disorder. б However, jaw noises can be a sign that there could be degeneration to the articular disc or a structural issue with the TMJ that could lead to a disorder in the future. How Do I know if My Jaw Popping is a Sign of a TMJ Disorder? If your jaw is popping or making noises, is it also coupled with any of the following symptoms? : If your jaw pops and the experience is also painful, you may have more going on than a temporary symptom. : If your jaw locks in place when it pops open or closed, you should definitely seek a opinion on your condition. (See below for tips on finding a qualified neuromuscular dentist. ) : Does the popping happen frequently and often during the same types of activities (such as yawning or chewing)? The consistency of the experience may point to a larger jaw issue. Why Do Jaws Pop? The temporomandibular joints are the points at which the lower jaw (the mandible) attaches to the skull.

They are among the most complex joints in the human anatomy. If you place your fingers on the sides of your face, just in front of your ears, and open and close your mouth, you can feel the movement of the mandible in the temporomandibular joints. That is often where jaw popping and noises originate, caused by one of the following: The head of the mandible causing pressure on the articular disc and causes the sounds. The joint capsule is pressured causing a popping. The cartilage in the TMJ has worn down and is causing a grinding noise. What Should I do if My Jaw Pops? If you are experiencing popping or a locked jaw, you should see a neuromuscular dentist. He or she will use one of the following techniques to CT or CAT Scans can provide detail on the bones in the joint and surrounding areas, the sinuses, and the brain. MRI shows the soft tissues including the disc and muscles. б MRIs can also be taken with the mouth open and closed to show positioning of the disc and muscles in relation to the joints. Tomography is a type of x-ray that shows cross sections of the jaw area. Other routine dental x-rays can be used to diagnose TMJ disorder that provide views of the head, joint, teeth, and surrounding areas. What are the Treatments for Jaw Popping? The neuromuscular dentist may provide you with one of the following treatment regimens, depending on the severity of your condition: Tricyclic antidepressants, also used for pain relief. This procedure involves the insertion of needles into the joint so that fluid can be irrigated through the joint to remove debris and inflammatory byproducts. Injections, such as corticosteroids Jaw popping may be related to a bigger issue with your jaw joints. In order to be sure, seek the advice of a neuromuscular dentist. Finding a qualified specialist in your area is easy on Quantitative description of temporomandibular joint sounds: defining clicking, popping, egg shell crackling and footsteps on gravel. http://www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/pubmed/11380788 Academy of General Dentistry, Photography: by Marc Forrest; licensed underб

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