It might not happen often enough for you to really consider it a problem, but even when it’s seemingly random, a popping and clicking jaw is never a good (or benign) sign. When your jaw won’t stop popping, it’s often because of TMJ disorder—a dysfunction in your jaw joints that make it difficult to open and close your mouth fully. In some cases, the popping and clicking noises might be accompanied by varying levels of pain in your jaw and facial muscles, or any of a wide number of other symptoms.
What’s happening with your jaw joints?
Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, are the large joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull, and upon which your lower jaw moves as you bite, chew, and speak. Typically, these joints operate simultaneously, but when your teeth and/or jaw are uneven, your TMJs cannot move in tandem. As a result, your jaw joints and muscles are exposed to excessive amounts of pressure, which can damage or inflame the joints and force them out of alignment.
Does your jaw hurt when you bite?
The popping and clicking noises in your jaw are the sounds and sensations of your TMJs having to shift in place every time they move due to joint misalignment. In addition to the popping sensation, you might also experience difficulty opening your mouth fully, discomfort when you bite and chew your food, chronic headaches and migraines, or random jolts of pain in your jaws and/or facial muscles. If you exhibit any of these symptoms, then you should visit your dentist as soon as possible to diagnose the problem and seek appropriate treatment ASAP.