Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why do I have random popping in my jaw?"
Ever since I was a little kid my jaw would pop when I opened it wide. Is something broken in there? It doesn't really hurt, but makes a loud popping sound. I'm used to it.
This is likely due to some laxity of the joint holding your jaw to your face known as the TMJ. Sometimes this joint can become lax and causes the popping sounds that you hear and feel when you open your mouth widely. Usually, this is something that can be monitored and doesn't often need treatment. Things to watch for are if you start to develop pain when you open your mouth widely, or if you are unable to open your mouth fully. These would be signs of something more concerning and would likely require that you be evaluated by a dentist. Also things to avoid for symptomatic treatment include avoiding chewing gum or tough food as this can cause irritation of the joint. You can discuss with your dentist the possibility of making a special brace that you wear at night as some people have symptoms from clenching their jaws at night. You could also put warming or cooling pads on your jaw if you develop intermittent episodes of pain. As discussed before, the good news is that it is unlikely to be something that needs to be treated unless you develop pain or other symptoms associated with the popping.
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