Some of us experience a click or pain in our jaw. This is usually not a serious problem. This Jaw issue tend to be fairly stable, not growing worse with time. It is more of an irritant or inconvenience than a threat to our health.
Occasionally the problem does grow worse, or cause headaches, or it is the result of an injury to the face. If you suspect an serious problem then talk to your dentist.
The technical term for a click of pain in the ear is Temporomandibular joint syndrome. (TMJ). The jaw is a complex joint that is designed to move in several directions, both up and down and slightly to the sides. This complexity means there are several things that can potentially go wrong. In most cases of TMJ we find that one side of the jaw is being used significantly more than the other. This causes the bones and ligaments to develop unevenly. So the jaw is slightly out of alignment and this causes clicking when the jaw is moved, or perhaps constant pain.
A jaw may go out of alignment because we habitually sleep in a bad position, breathing through the mouth while the jaw is lopsided. Else, we might clench our teeth when we are asleep, putting pressure more on one side of the face than the other.
If the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is caused by bad sleep posture, or bad jaw habits while we sleep, a mouthguard can help. A dentist can custom make a suitable mouthguard.
A mild Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) might be cause by favouring one side of the mouth to chew with. This chewing habit can be helped by chewing sugar free gum, or simply by training ourselves to eat with the other side of our mouth.
Some serious Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems require dental work. If the teeth are uneven it might forces us to chew unevenly. Correcting the teeth today can help us to develop a better jaw function over the following months.
A few Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) require physiotherapy.
Talk to the dentist if you have a click or pain in the jaw, especially if the problem appears suddenly.