Between eating, speaking, and yawning, your jaw goes through many different movements each day. As it opens and closes, bones and joints may become misaligned or overextended and produce a popping or clicking sound. While this noise may be unexpected, it’s not necessarily a cause for concern—especially if no other symptoms are present and the issue goes away with time. However, there are cases when clicking and popping is something to discuss with an oral surgeon. To help you protect your oral health, here are a few guidelines on when to seek professional care for jaw sounds.
When Should You Talk to an Oral Surgeon About Jaw Clicking?
Most of the time, jaw clicking occurs when the bones are extended too far—such as when you yawn. In these cases, the bones will settle back into position and cause no lasting issues. However, if sounds occur when you close your mouth—such as when you talk or chew—you may be suffering from a more serious problem affecting the temporomandibular joint.
Located near the base of the ear, this joint holds the upper and lower jaw together so that they can open and close without concern. However, if this component is injured, stressed, or damaged, you may develop a condition known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. In addition to clicking or popping, TMJ disorder is known to cause chronic jaw pain, soreness, stiffness, and headaches.
Non-invasive TMJ treatments—such as jaw stretching—can sometimes relieve these symptoms. However, if the pain persists or grows worse, you should talk to an oral surgeon about correcting the problem. You should also discuss the problem if your jaw sticks while opening or closing.
How Can an Oral Surgeon Treat the Problem?
When conservative TMJ treatments do not relieve your symptoms, oral surgery can help restore the integrity and function of your jaw. Depending on the nature of the problem, an oral surgeon may help unstick problematic bones by removing damaged tissues that restrict movement. If alignment is to blame, the specialist may perform minimally invasive jaw surgery to reconfigure the bones and joint so that they are back in a proper position.
If you need corrective jaw surgery, the specialists at Associated Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons are qualified to provide in-depth TMJ treatment in the Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia Tri-State region. After carefully assessing your jaw, these oral surgeons will take a customized approach to reposition or reshape bones, joints, and tissues. Committed to patient safety and comfort, these specialists will guide you through every step of the surgical and recovery processes, so you can restore your oral health confidence. To learn more about their oral surgery capabilities, visit this provider online. For consultations, call (301) 694-0870 to reach the Frederick, MD, office, (301) 733-2500 for the Hagerstown, MD, location, or (304) 263-0091 to speak with the Martinsburg, WV, practice.