Millions of people every year suffer from jaw popping and clicking. Unfortunately, there isn’t a specific “cure-all” answer to this join dysfunction. However, there are ways you can release jaw tensions and fight off the pain so you don’t have to live in constant discomfort. Check them out below!

Causes of Jaw Popping and Clicking

If you suffer from jaw popping and clicking or hold a lot of tension in that area of your face, you may have something called Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, also known as TMJ. 

Patients with TMJ typically have a malaligned or displaced cartilage disk used to cushion the mandible and temporal bone. It’s common for someone with TMJ to experience a popping or clicking sensation in their jaw because the cartilage disk shifts when they open their mouth. Millions of people suffer from TMJ annually, but only 10% of TMJ patients see long-term symptoms that disrupt their quality of life. 

You may be at risk for TMJ if you grind your teeth, smoke, or suffer from sleep apnea or insomnia. TMJ may affect the way you eat, sleep and smile, and is more prominent in women than men. 

Other causes of TMJ include arthritis, injury (such as a broken jaw), and failed dental practice/surgery. 

Although there may not be a cure for TMJ, there are things you can do to ease your jaw tension, popping, clicking, and pain. 

How to Ease Jaw Tension

Jaw pain can get pretty excruciating. If left untreated, you may experience brutal headaches, migraines, and even pain eating. Here are some things you can do to relieve the tension in your jaw and fight off oral pain:

  • Stay conscious: In the digital age, we’re prone to bad posture and long hours craning our necks over our phones and computers. A great way to ease tension is to practice good posture and hold your phone higher and closer to eye level. This will prevent you from bending your neck in unnatural and unhealthy ways. Bad posture is directly linked to jaw tension and dysfunction, so sitting up a little straighter may bring you some much-needed relief. 
  • Know what to avoid: Steer clear of chewing gum and hard, sticky and crunchy foods. These foods may cause you to overextend your jaw and cause even more pain. Foods like caramel, popcorn, and raw vegetables should be avoided. 
  • Nightguard: Since a lot of people with jaw tension grind their teeth, it may be well worth it to ask your dentist about a TMJ night guard. Not only does a night guard ease jaw tension, but it also prevents your teeth from chipping.
  • Traditional care: If you’re suffering from jaw pain, try a cool compress for 15 minutes followed by a warm cloth or heating pad. You may also take pain relievers like ibuprofen to decrease inflammation and swelling.