Have you noticed that your jaw clicks when you chew? Jaw clicking, popping, soreness or pain when you speak, chew or laugh are often symptoms of a problem with the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull. This joint, known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), not only involves the dental complexities of the patient’s mouth, but it also includes the muscles of the human neck and back, and organs of the human head. The joint itself contains a thin cushion known as an articular disc, which helps align the lower mandible within the joint socket. When this alignment is thrown off, clicking and popping can result.
If the articular disc moves slightly, you may not notice any long-lasting symptoms. You may hear popping or clicking because the joint is very near the ear, but in many cases the disc will adjust itself and symptoms will disappear. In other cases, the disc will become displaced, and symptoms will persist. In severe cases, you may not even be able to open your mouth completely. In those cases, you need to make an appointment to see a TMJ specialist for treatment. Other disorders of the TMJ joint are possible, as well. If the mandible becomes dislocated, you won’t be able to fully close your jaw.
TMJ disorders are varied and complex, ranging from rare popping to frequent cracking. They may not be a major problem, but a specialist should investigate recurring symptoms that involve pain, fatigue, or mouths that fail to operate properly. If you experience these types of symptoms, especially unusual pain in the jaw or face, contact a TMJ specialist for an evaluation.
If you would like to find out more about jaw issues, contact Dr. Gamarnik at 714-842-5626 to schedule a consultation or visit www.hbadvanceddentalspecialists.com for additional information.
Dr. Rudy Gamarnik proudly serves Huntington Beach and all surrounding areas.