Consulting with a jaw pain specialist is critical in discerning the cause of any jaw popping, jaw locking or jaw pain that you may be experiencing. While treating symptoms with over-the-counter medications may provide temporary relief, the only way to permanently alleviate your symptoms is to address the root cause. 

Dr. Tom Meyer has been caring for dental and chronic pain patients within the Chicago area since 1993. With over two decades of experience, Dr. Meyer and his team of knowledgeable staff can assist you in identifying and treating the root cause of pain, jaw popping and jaw locking, which is commonly caused by a misaligned bite. 

5 Causes and Solutions of Jaw Popping and Locking

Jaw popping and locking is a source of pain and frustration to many, yet these symptoms can be caused by several medical conditions. To alleviate the symptoms that you may be experiencing, the root cause of your condition must be addressed. 

1. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) 

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder is a prevalent culprit of pain that radiates from your jaw, ear, face, neck or shoulders. In addition to pain, common symptoms include: 

  • Restricted jaw movements 
  • Muscle spasms in your cheeks or your jaw
  • Chronic migraines 
  • Clicking noises within your jaw joints 
  • Tight facial muscles, especially within your jaw and cheeks 
  • A ringing in your ears 

The Temporomandibular Joint links your lower jawbone to your skull. This joint allows you to open your mouth, including to drink, eat or speak. In most cases of TMJ, patients exhibit a misaligned bite or malocclusion. If your teeth are not correctly positioned, this crucial joint will likely be improperly positioned as well. 

2. Other Dental-Related Conditions

If you are experiencing severe or persistent jaw pain, you may be suffering from one of many dental-related conditions. Conditions related to your teeth or gums can lead to pain in your jaw, and that can radiate to other areas. 

Dental conditions that can attribute to pain or jaw locking include:

  • Toothaches caused by an abscess or cavity 
  • Tooth-related concerns, such as cracked, crowded or sensitive teeth 
  • Gum disease, which can lead to damage to your jawbone 

Dental damage, however, can be linked back to TMJ disorder and/or a misaligned bite. Because the bite pressure is not distributed evenly, there could be premature wear and tear taking place in the teeth.

3. Trauma

Jaw popping and jaw locking can be caused by injury to your jaw or face. Like any other bone in your body, your jaw can be broken or knocked out of place. However, pain, popping or locking that is a result from trauma will generally be accompanied by other prevalent symptoms, including: 

  • Swelling 
  • Loosened or missing teeth 
  • Bruising 
  • Inability to open and close your mouth normally 

4. Whiplash Injuries 

According to The Journal of the American Dental Association, one in three people exposed to whiplash trauma is at risk of developing delayed TMJ symptoms that may require treatment.

Whiplash can often cause TMJ disorder, and ultimately jaw pain. You may not notice the symptoms until days or weeks later after the damage has taken place. During whiplash, as the head is thrown backwards, the violent motion stretches the TMJs out of their range of motion. As a result, misaligning the TMJs and ultimately causing jaw pain and TMJ symptoms.

5. Arthritis

Jaw pain and jaw locking can be caused by certain joint-related conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that can cause swelling within joints and damage to the spongy cartilage that allows your jaw to move smoothly. Therefore, this condition can leave your jaw feeling sore and stiff. 

Find Relief with a Jaw Pain Specialist in Chicago

At Meyer Dental Group, you can find relief to TMJ disorder and its debilitating symptoms. In addition to these services, routine preventative care can assist in identifying dental and jaw problems early on or reduce the likelihood that an issue will develop. 

tmj treatment a natural migraine relief
TENS Machine for immediate TMJ relief

By targeting the root cause of your pain, jaw popping, clicking, or jaw locking – Dr. Tom Meyer can work with you towards fixing the problem at the source.

Want to achieve relief once and for all? Reach out to the Meyer Dental Group to schedule a free consultation

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