Wondering what you should do if you find your jaws popping out when you yawn?
Don’t worry; it’s more common than you’d think. The joints of the jaw along with a few muscles that aid in chewing, yawning, speaking are together known as the Temporomandibular region. 10 million Americans suffer from Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder which causes the jaw to pop when you yawn or open your mouth too big. It is more common in women than in men.
Causes and Symptoms of TMJ disorder
Stress is known as a major factor contributing to TMJ. Stress may lead to clenching of jaws which in turn leads to dispositioning of the jaws causing myofascial pain disorder leading to TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder can also be caused by facial injury, diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or improper growth of the jaw. Some of the common signs of TMJ are:
- Popping of the jaw or clicking
- Experiencing difficulty in chewing
- Pain in the face, jaw ears or headache
- Spasms of the facial muscles
- Facing difficulty in opening the jaw
Treatment for TMJ disorder
The best thing to do is to approach a dentist who will take appropriate action and tell you what your way forward is. After a detailed examination which may also involve taking X-rays, you may also be referred to an Oral or maxillofacial Surgeon. Depending upon the root cause of your problem you may be treated by:
- Doing some dental work, if you have bite problems. It may involve reshaping the teeth so that they can fit better
- Prescribing medication for the pain, inflammation, or for tense muscles
- Asking you to wear a night guard which can prevent you from clenching your teeth.
- Referring you to a chiropractor or a physiotherapist specializing in facial issues for jaw exercises
- Referring you to a behavioural therapist, if you have issues with stress and anti-depressants may be prescribed
- Recommending surgery, when other treatments do not seem to work and you are experiencing a lot of difficulty in opening your jaw.
If your jaw muscles are sore, the dentist may put a cold compress to relax the muscles.
Dealing with TMJ
Popping of the jaw stems from the TMJ. If the muscles around this joint are weak or one side is stronger than the other, it can cause damage to the joint putting the jaw at the risk of being pulled out or popping out of the face. If you are stressed, you should try relaxation techniques and try to be positive. Follow an exercise routine or meditation or even picking up a new hobby. You need to learn to calm down. You should also try to massage or exercise the jaws when you start noticing symptoms. Initially you have to be careful with opening your jaws too wide so that it doesn’t pop out again.