Why Does My Jaw Pop When I Chew?

Why Does My Jaw Pop When I Chew?

Are you experiencing popping or clicking sensations in your jaw when you chew, yawn, or open wide? It’s a common problem — and it might be more than just a nuisance.

A popping jaw could be a symptom of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, a condition affecting the joints of your jawbone. It impacts up to 12% of people, and a popping jaw is a tell-tale sign.

Walied Touni, DDS, MSD, and our team at Touni Orthodontics specialize in TMJ care in Sunnyvale, California. Understanding the common symptoms of TMJ disorders is the first step to finding treatment and relief from your jaw discomfort. Here’s what you need to know.

TMJ basics

Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a complex hinge joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. You have two TMJs, one on each side of your face. Together, these joints allow you to move your jaw up and down and from side to side.

Your TMJ enables essential functions like chewing and talking. But when your TMJ gets inflamed or damaged, it can lead to a range of bothersome and uncomfortable symptoms that impact your daily life.

Common symptoms of TMJ disorders

Your jaw gets a lot of use, and it’s susceptible to damage just like any other joint. In fact, one of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorders is a popping or clicking sensation in your jaw when you chew.

This sensation typically occurs when the cartilage disk that cushions your joint gets displaced or damaged. Your bones start to rub against each other as you move your jaw, resulting in popping or clicking.

In addition to popping, other symptoms of TMJ disorders can include:

It’s important to note that occasional jaw popping doesn’t necessarily indicate a TMJ disorder, but you should never ignore persistent or worsening symptoms. Dr. Touni and our team offer convenient appointments to assess your symptoms and diagnose your condition.

Your TMJ treatment options

If you’re diagnosed with a TMJ disorder, treatment typically focuses on relieving your pain and restoring normal jaw function. Depending on your situation, we may start by recommending conservative measures to alleviate jaw popping and other symptoms.

Dr. Touni may also recommend physical therapy or jaw exercises to improve your jaw mobility and strengthen your surrounding muscles. A custom-made mouth guard can also help stabilize your jaw joint and prevent teeth grinding during sleep.

If you have severe or persistent symptoms, Dr. Touni may prescribe more advanced treatment options like corticosteroid injections or surgical intervention to repair or replace damaged joint tissues.


Bothered by a popping jaw? Don’t ignore it or just hope it goes away on its own. Schedule a TMJ evaluation with Dr. Touni and our team to get a treatment plan to address your symptoms and improve your health by calling our office today or booking an appointment online at any time.

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