One of the main symptoms associated with TMJ problems is popping and clicking of the jaw joint. Sometimes, this can generate noise that can even be heard by others.
In general, popping and clicking in any joint is undesirable. Healthy joints operate seamlessly and soundlessly, and noise coming from your TMJ is a sign that you should have it checked out before it leads to further problems.
How the TMJ Can Make Noise
The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is the place where your jawbone connects to your skull on both sides of your head. The two pieces of bone involved are the condyle (part of the jawbone) and glenoid fossa (part of the skull). Between them is a disc of soft cartilage that cushions the joint and normally prevents it from making noise.
However, when the condyle is misaligned, this disc may be pushed out of place. The popping or clicking sound you hear when you open your jaw is the sound of the disc snapping back in place, then being pushed aside again when the jaw closes. If this happens enough times, the disc could get perforated or torn, which worsens TMJ pain.
Another sound that may come from a misaligned or damaged TMJ is a grating, sandpaper-like noise. This indicates that the two bones are grinding together. If this continues, the bones could be ground down, resulting in further pain and decreased jaw function.
Treating TMJ Noise
TMJ noise can be eliminated by moving the TMJ back into alignment, so the disc of cartilage no longer pops out of place and once again protects the two bones from grinding. This can be done through lifestyle changes, oral appliances, and in some cases, surgery.
Though TMJ noise is not always accompanied by pain, it is a sign that your TMJ has issues that need to be addressed. The expert team at Wilshire Smile Studio can diagnose your problem and come up with a customized treatment plan to repair this crucial joint.
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WHAT IS TMJ?