Many people have jaw clicking or jaw noise. In this report, Dr. Michel Fancelli explains what causes the problem and what can be done to solve it.
When a jaw starts to make noise, it is not a good sign. Dr. Fancelli explains that the jaw consists of the condyle, the fascia, and the disc. The function of the disc is to let the bones function together so that the condyle slides gently into the fascia. When you open your mouth, you may hear a noise of the disc popping back onto the head of the condyle. When you close your mouth, you may hear a second noise indicating that the disc is displaced. “It’s no longer in a good position.”
When that occurs, says Dr. Fancelli, the condyle is very vulnerable to degeneration. When we close our mouth, we put a lot of stress on our jaw. Even though the jaw noise is a sign of something bad, most people will not have jaw pain at the onset of this problem. People may experience problems that they do not immediately associate with the jaw, such as teeth cracking or becoming sensitive to heat and cold. As the problem becomes more advanced, a person might experience changes in bite. A patient might develop headaches, even migraines. Poor sleep is another possibility.
The people most at risk for problems, says Dr. Fancelli, are people who clench or grind their teeth. This usually occurs when they are sleeping. People who have jaw injuries are also at risk. Other candidates are people who have chronic pain or sleep apnea.
The treatment for most people is to simple wear a night guard at night. For those who have more extensive damage, the treatment is more complex
Dr. Michel Fancelli is a dentist practicing with the Centre Dentaire Fancelli near Montreal in Longueuil, Quebec, Canada. Dr. Fancelli completed a multidisciplinary residency at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. He has been practicing in Longueuil since 1984. He opened a new state of the art, high technology office in 2002. He completed a residency program at the TMJ and Sleep Therapy Research, an advance training on the management of temporomandibular joint and sleep disorders.