Dr. Raj Upadya of Metropolitan Center for Complete Dentistry in East Hanover, New Jersey specializes in the treatment of complex dental problems including temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). Most patients refer to temporomandibular joint pain and related issues as TMJ. Diagnosing TMD requires careful examination and training. There are a variety of TMJ treatments for TMJ disorders ranging from the use of a simple mouth guard to bite correction procedures.
Why does my jaw pop?
Jaw popping is a common sign of TMJ disorder, however, it should be noted that jaw popping does not indicate TMJ dysfunction. There can be other reasons for jaw popping so be sure to seek a thorough diagnosis from a trained dentist in TMJ disorders before proceeding with treatment.
Jaw popping can be caused by a number of things including:
- Stress – emotional or physical including overuse of the jaw joints
- Improper alignment of the jaw joints or teeth
- Trauma to the face or jaw
- Teeth grinding or jaw clenching
- Bad habits such as chewing on finger nails, biting lip or cheek, or chewing too much gum
Treatment for Jaw Popping
There are a number of treatment options to fix a popping or clicking jaw. Simple treatment may include TMJ exercises with stretch out the muscles and tendons. Eating soft foods and cutting foods into smaller pieces to decrease the amount of chewing is another conservative treatment for TMJ pain.
The first step is a thorough and comprehensive evaluation of all aspects of your occlusal system. This includes the teeth, gums and jaw joints. Pinpointing the underlying cause of your jaw popping and bite dysfunction is the key to treatment that will go beyond the symptoms and improve your overall oral health for the long term.
Dr. Upadya commonly uses oral appliance therapy as a treatment for jaw popping and TMJ pain. Here, a custom mouth guard or splint is created from impressions of your mouth and teeth. This removable oral appliance is used to place teeth in their proper position. Usually, the mouth guard or splint is worn while the patient sleeps. This also prevents teeth grinding and jaw clenching which can lead to tooth wear and contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.
In some cases, bite correction procedures may be necessary to reposition teeth so that they make proper contact with one another. Also known as occlusal equilibration, bite correction is designed to bring the teeth into proper contact through restorative dental treatments. This allows the jaw to open and close in its proper position and eliminates stress on the jaw joints (TMJ). This could include the use of dental implants, dental crowns or braces. Learn more about TMJ Therapy.
Schedule a Consultation
If you have TMJ pain or notice jaw popping, contact Metropolitan Center for Complete Dentistry to schedule a consultation with Dr. Raj Upadya. Our office is conveniently located in East Hanover, New Jersey.
We gladly welcome new patients and out of town patients. Call us at (973) 287-3153 or request an appointment online.