Are you a noisy eater? No I don’t mean chewing with your mouth open. I mean does your jaw make loud noises when you eat? Do people constantly ask you, “Is that your jaw making that noise?!” then this article is for you.
A clicking jaw could be insignificant or it can be an important sign of problems with the jaw that, if untreated, can result in more significant problems such as a locked jaw. So how do you know which it is?
Well, if the clicking is a new thing or if the clicking is painful, worsening, or even already starting to catch/lock, then getting an assessment of the jaw would be a great idea! If your jaw has always made noises for as long as you can remember, and doesn’t bother you, then you can probably get away without having it looked at. That’s not to say that we don’t see people who come in simply because “it’s awkward trying to eat in a quiet restaurant” or “I’m sick of people asking about my jaw when I eat.”
Assessment of the jaw involves examining the biomechanics of the jaw, as well as other things such as your habits, and lifestyle to uncover the root cause of why your jaw is clicking. I liken the jaw to a balanced game of tug-of-war. If the balance is thrown out, then the jaw doesn’t work like it should. From these findings, we can work with you on the best way to go about getting an optimal outcome for your clicky jaw.
How we treat is based on what we find is causing your jaw to click. Most of the time it involves loosening the tight muscles, strengthening the weak muscles and making sure that you are able to coordinate everything together so that your jaw has the best chance it has to talk, chew, eat, yawn, yell, sing, laugh and do what you need to do.