Your jaw may pop when you open your mouth wide or chew because the bones in your jaw are squeezing together. This is called joint dysfunction. Your jaw has two joints, the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), that let it move up and down and side to side.
Joint dysfunction can be caused by a number of things, including:
Joint dysfunction can be painful and make it hard to chew or open your mouth wide. If you have joint dysfunction, you may hear a clicking noise when you move your jaw. You may also feel pain in your jaw, face, neck, or ears.
How to treat jaw dysfunction?
If you have joint dysfunction, there are a number of things you can do to ease the pain and help your jaw move better. These include:
- Eating soft foods
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
- Applying ice to your jaw
- Doing jaw exercises
If joint dysfunction is severe, you may need to see a doctor or dentist. They can prescribe stronger pain relievers or give you a mouthguard to wear at night. Surgery is rarely needed.
Joint dysfunction is usually not a serious condition, but it can be painful and annoying. If you have joint dysfunction, talk to your doctor or dentist about ways to ease your pain and help your jaw move better.