Why Does My Jaw Crack When I Chew?

Experiencing a sudden pop or click in your jaw while chewing is annoying and not something you can let be. While many think this is nothing more than a random occurrence, it could have a deeper meaning – a sign of Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD). If your mind ponders,” Why does my jaw crack when I chew food every time?” This blog is here with the answer.

Jaw Popping and Cracking During Eating

When you hear a pop or crack in your jaw when you chew, it is more likely a signal from your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) of something that is amiss. This infamous joint provides smooth movements of chewing, talking, yawning, or even involuntary teeth grinding during sleep.

Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

If your jaw clicks when you eat occasionally, it is not something to be worried about; however, persistent symptoms such as headaches, jaw pain, and earaches serve as a clear marker of Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD). Like any other joint, your TMJ has cartilage and soft tissues that wear down with time, leading to pain and resistance in proper jaw function.

When you detect pain and tenderness in your jaw that is on one or both sides of your mouth, take it as an indicator. Furthermore, the discomfort may extend to your face, temples, neck, or even shoulders. Other signs include swelling and deviation in your bite pattern, where your upper and lower teeth do not align correctly.

Causes

Many factors can contribute to the development of TMD, and at times, the cause is not entirely clear. Some of the common risk factors include:

  • Trauma to your face: Any injury that directly or indirectly hits your temporomandibular joint can lead to TMD.
  • Arthritis: If you are genetically predisposed to this condition, inflammation of the joint can affect the TMJ.
  • Slipped Disc: These discs are present in the joint and may skip due to sudden impact.
  • Connective Tissue Damage: The soft tissues around the joint suffer from a blow and inflame in response.
  • Chronic Teeth Grinding or Clenching: Excessive involuntary teeth grinding puts pressure on your jaw at night, which may aid in its loosening.

Treatment Options For Your Cracking Jaw

If you’re grappling with jaw clicking, dental professionals can offer assistance:

  1. Dental Diagnosis: X-rays can aid in identifying issues like jaw injuries or teeth malocclusions.
  2. TMJ Surgery: If the jaw crack is severe when you chew, reconstructive surgery may be recommended if no other treatment option works.
  3. Nightguards: If your problem is bruxism or nocturnal teeth clenching, a nightguard can be of great help. It takes the pressure off your jaws and lets them relax during the entire night’s sleep.
  4. Trigger Point Injections: You can also ask for a numbing agent for your facial muscles to release tension and eliminate tenderness.
  5. Radio Wave Therapy: Dentists use radio waves to increase blood flow in the TMJ and surrounding tissues, ultimately lessening the pain.

Closing Note

In a nutshell, there could be one or multiple reasons for your jaw cracking when you chew food, and that is why understanding the reasons is the first step to finding relief. If bruxism seems to be the issue, contact our experts, Dr. Liza Shevchenko, a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthodontics, and her husband, Dr. Virgilio Gutierrez, an esteemed member of the German Society of Oral Implantology, at The Smile Artisans for nightguard we offer. Call (832) 220-6087 to connect with us.

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