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Have you ever experienced a sudden popping sound when you open or close your mouth? This phenomenon, known as jaw popping, can be worrying and may understandably raise concerns about your oral health. 

At Chorley Orthodontics, we get questions about what this could be from worried patients more often than you might think. So, being your expert orthodontist in Chorley, we thought this article might help in explaining what jaw popping is, why it is caused, and what you can do to address it.

Jaw Popping: What Is It and What Causes It?

Jaw popping is exactly as it sounds, upon opening and closing the mouth, the jaw makes a popping or clicking sound. It is a condition that affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) which, if healthy, shouldn’t make any sound when in use. This leads us to the important conclusion that a jaw that makes a popping or clicking sound when opened, closed, or moved sideways, needs attention, especially if combined with pain or other symptoms such as a locked jaw, difficulty chewing, and opening the mouth wide.

There are several reasons why your jaw can suddenly begin to pop or click, these include:

  • Malocclusion – this is the technical name for a bad bite, where your teeth don’t meet as they should when closing your jaws. If your teeth don’t align properly, it can affect the way your jaw functions, therefore contributing to jaw popping as the joint compensates for the misalignment. This is the most common cause of jaw popping we see here at Chorley Orthodontics.
  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders – the TMJ is a hinge joint that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. Disorders affecting the TMJ, such as arthritis or misalignment, can lead to jaw popping.
  • Bruxism (Teeth Grinding) – habitual teeth grinding, especially during sleep, can contribute to jaw popping as it puts constant pressure on the jaw joint which can cause it to pop or click.
  • Joint Hypermobility – some individuals naturally have more flexible joints, which can include the jaw joint. This increased mobility can result in popping sensations when moving the jaw.
  • Injury or Trauma – physical injuries to the jaw or temporomandibular joint can cause popping or clicking sounds during movement.


What is Malocclusion and How Can it Affect the Popping of the Jaw?

Bite issues are the most common reason we see patients with popping or clicking jaws. The act of your upper and lower jaw coming together when you bite should be balanced and even on both sides. With bite issues such as open bite, crossbite, deep bite etc. the teeth are not able to meet correctly, which puts strain on the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. These muscles need to work harder to eliminate bite interferences, which can lead to stress on the jaw joint, skull, neck, and spine.

This strain can lead to several other problems within the jaw joint such as:

  • The jaw becomes less mobile as the muscles and ligaments that stabilise the joint become too tense.
  • The destabilisation of the disc that lies between the bones in the jaw joint, causes it to move out of its natural position, which then leads to popping and clicking.
  • Compression of the nerves and arteries that pass through the joint and connect it to the brain, causing pain and discomfort in the jaw joint and possibly in the face, neck, head, or spine.


Can Orthodontics be Used to Correct Jaw Popping?

Braces are a brilliant feat of engineering, not only are they able to fix your smile but they can fix malocclusion and the side effects of it. By realigning the jaws with braces, you can relax the muscles and ligaments, returning them to their normal working order and allowing the jaws to close naturally, thus resolving the clicking and popping of your jaw.

How Can Invisalign Help With Jaw Popping?

There are several brace options available to help solve jaw popping, the most common we use at our practice is Invisalign. Invisalign is a non-invasive, discreet way to fix bite issues and popping of the jaw and is a very popular choice among adults, due to its comfort, discreetness, and ease of use. Invisalign works to correct the alignment of the teeth, leading to improved bite function and ultimately the resolve of a popping jaw. A treatment plan is mapped out for you and several sets of aligners are created from clear, flexible plastic, which aim to apply gentle force to different teeth, with each new aligner. Invisalign aligners are changed every 10-14 days, and it is advised to wear your aligners around 22 hours per day. The use of Invisalign is based on your dental issue, so if your case is more complex or your orthodontist doesn’t think your particular issue can be fixed with Invisalign, then another option may be offered.


Looking for Invisalign in Chorley?

As mentioned previously, Invisalign is our most popular discreet and removable brace system. There is a huge range of dental issues Invisalign can address, including the malocclusion that leads to jaw popping. Our patients have said they love the ease of using Invisalign and the ability to continue with their daily life, eat what they like, and that it is barely noticeable. Other notable benefits of Invisalign include:

  • Invisibility – the clear aligners are nearly invisible, providing a discreet treatment option.
  • Removability – Invisalign aligners can be easily removed for eating, brushing, and special occasions, allowing for better oral hygiene, flexibility, and no need to adapt your diet.
  • Comfort – the SmartTrack material used ensures a comfortable fit, minimising irritation and discomfort associated with traditional braces.
  • Predictable Results – the advanced 3D imaging technology allows precise treatment planning, offering predictable and optimal results.


How your specialist orthodontist in Chorley can help

If you’re seeking Invisalign in Chorley, then Chorley Orthodontics is here to help. Our specialists are highly qualified and experienced with Invisalign and are well-known in the orthodontic sector for their expertise. Contact us today to book your free consultation and see if Invisalign could be right for you, at your specialist orthodontists in Chorley.


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