Why Does My Jaw Click: Is it Harmless or Something More Serious?

Why Does My Jaw Click: Is it Harmless or Something More Serious?

July 1, 2023

Jaw clicking is a common occurrence among many individuals. While it may seem harmless, jaw-clicking can sometimes indicate a more serious underlying condition. Whether you’re experiencing occasional or frequent jaw clicking, it’s important to understand what’s causing it and how to address it to ensure your oral health and well-being.

Why Does My Jaw Click?

Jaw clicking is a common issue that several reasons can cause:

  • Displacement or Dysfunction of the TMJ Disc: The TMJ disc is a cushion between the mandible and the temporal bone. If it becomes displaced or doesn’t function properly, it can lead to jaw clicking. This can occur due to trauma, degenerative joint disease, or structural abnormalities.
  • Jaw Misalignment: Jaw misalignment, also known as malocclusion or a bad bite, is a common cause of jaw clicking. Misaligned teeth can strain the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and its associated structures, resulting in jaw clicking and other related symptoms.
  • Bruxism (Teeth Grinding): Grinding or clenching the teeth, especially during sleep, can put excessive pressure on the TMJ. This continuous strain can lead to inflammation and joint irritation, resulting in jaw clicking.
  • Arthritis: Various forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, can affect the TMJ. These conditions cause inflammation, damage to the joint cartilage, and bone remodeling, leading to jaw clicking and other symptoms like pain and restricted jaw movement.
  • Trauma or Injury: A direct impact on the jaw or a whiplash injury can disrupt the normal functioning of the TMJ. This can result in joint misalignment, disc displacement, or damage to the surrounding tissues, leading to jaw clicking.

If you’re experiencing jaw clicking, seeing a dentist in Calgary is important to determine the underlying cause and find the right treatment.

Harmless vs. Serious Jaw Clicking

Jaw clicking can vary in severity and may be categorized as harmless or serious, depending on the underlying cause and associated symptoms. Here’s a breakdown of these two categories:

  • Harmless Jaw Clicking:

Harmless jaw clicking refers to occasional clicking or popping sounds that occur in the jaw joint without causing significant pain, discomfort, or functional limitations. This type of jaw clicking is generally considered harmless and may occur due to temporary factors like excessive gum chewing, yawning, or temporary muscle tension. Harmless jaw clicking does not require specific treatment or intervention. However, if it becomes bothersome or affects your quality of life, self-care measures such as avoiding excessive gum chewing and practicing relaxation techniques to reduce muscle tension can be beneficial.

  • Serious Jaw Clicking

Serious jaw clicking refers to persistent or chronic clicking sounds in the jaw joint that is accompanied by pain, discomfort, restricted jaw movement, or other concerning symptoms. It often indicates an underlying issue that requires attention and treatment. Serious jaw clicking may be associated with conditions such as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), jaw misalignment, inflammation, structural abnormalities, or trauma. Treatment for serious jaw clicking may involve a comprehensive approach that includes a combination of self-care measures, medications, jaw exercises, physical therapy, splints or oral appliances, and in severe cases, surgical intervention.

If you are concerned about your jaw clicking, experiencing pain, or have any associated symptoms, seek TMJ treatment in Calgary to address the issue.

Treatment Options

Self-care measures and lifestyle modifications may be sufficient in mild cases of jaw clicking. These can include avoiding excessive gum chewing and applying warm compresses or ice packs to alleviate discomfort. A dentist or healthcare professional may also recommend jaw exercises and stretches to improve jaw muscle strength and flexibility. In more severe or persistent cases, the dentist may suggest a splint or oral appliance to help realign the jaw and alleviate jaw clicking.

In rare cases with significant structural or functional impairment, surgical intervention may be considered a last resort.

Preventing Jaw Clicking

Preventing jaw clicking involves adopting certain habits; here are some preventive measures:

  • Avoid chewing gum or eating hard foods
  • Reduce stress on your jaw
  • Take breaks during prolonged periods of talking or chewing
  • Use relaxation techniques to manage stress and anxiety
  • Wear a mouthguard at night

If you are experiencing jaw clicking, talk to your doctor to determine the cause. In most cases, harmless jaw clicking will go away without any treatment.


In most cases, jaw clicking is harmless and does not require medical attention. However, if you are experiencing pain or difficulty opening and closing the mouth, it may indicate a serious problem.

Visit Poplar Dental if you are experiencing any discomfort or concerns about your jaw clicking.

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