Sudden Onset of Jaw Clicking

CassandraJuly 4, 2007

I think "clicking" is the proper term. This came on suddenly last week. When I eat, or yawn, or otherwise open my mouth fairly wide, the left side of my jaw makes a sound that's pretty audible. There is no pain, and I have had no trauma or otherwise unusual circumstance leading to this. I did chomp on some smallish pieces of ice over the last few weeks; that's the only hard thing I can think of chewing. I do have a back molar on that side (upper left) that needs a crown, but it has needed one for at least three years now (I keep putting it off). I grind my teeth at night and have worn a night guard every night for at least the last 15 years. Any ideas what this is and whether it will resolve itself on its own? Also, if I make an appointment, is this a dentist or doctor issue?

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I had this for a while, and luckily it went away. I think it's a dentist issue. It's annoying, isn't it? Are you scheduled to go in for a cleaning soon? That would be good so you can talk to the dentist at that time.

If you google "jaw clicking," you'll come up with websites with helful information.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 8:00PM
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HI Marita,
I would wait awhile. I have that intermittantly. It might just go away on its own.
I've noticed that my muscles get pretty lax at certain times during my monthly cycle. It even affects my esophogus and swallowing, and all my joints. Maybe its just a hormone swing.?? I'd definitely wait awhile and see if it clears up on its own.
If it never goes away, I would probably see the person who treated you with the mouth guard, since its a jaw problem. But don't go too quickly. Sometimes things go away if we just wait them out, and then we can avoid alot of expense and time not going to a doctor/dentist.
Perhaps you need a new mouthguard made?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 9:57AM
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Thanks for your answers. I am scheduled for a cleaning in a few weeks, so I'll wait to ask then. Catherinet, if there is one thing I've discovered as I'm getting older, it is that I get odd aches and pains in various parts of my body for no particular reason. I'll put up with it for a long time, then start to worry, and just as I'm seriously considering seeing a doctor it completely goes away. I had pains in my arms and shoulders for about three months last winter, and I was sure it was the onset of major arthritis. I posted here several times about my worries. But then those pains completely disappeared. Several years ago I had a similar pain in the leg--then poof! it was gone. So I think I'm learning to wait things out rather than go running to the doctor or, in this case, dentist. I guess the one thing I need to work on is patience!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 12:05PM
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Hi Marita,
I have the same problem. I get some pain that seems really bad, and I wait and wait and finally decide to go see the doctor. Then it goes away!! Maybe we just need to make alot of appointments, and then cancel them?? haha
This time, though, my pains/nausea aren't going away. I've seen several docs already and I'm still nauseous, so its off to the GI doc next! I think I need to trade this body in for a new model!
Hopefully your jaw will quit clicking soon!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 1:20PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

It's the degenration of the cartilage in the jaw that causes the clicking. I had clicking for years (decades). One day in 2000, I couldn't open my mouth. I have had to wear an appliance 24/7 since then and without it my jaw won't stay in place and is painful. I have been to some extreme specialists over this problem and 99.9% of regular and orthodontic dentists have no idea how to help, although they act like they do. You have to seek out a tmj dentist who has experience or an oral surgeon, who also needs case experience.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 9:34PM
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bumblebeez, I'm sorry to hear about your experience. My dentist referred me to a TMJ specialist, who referred me for an MRI (Luckily -- surprisingly! -- insurance covered it. The results were that I have very mild cartilage degeneration of the jaw. The TMJ specialist said that the best thing right now is just to practice some behavior measures, such as being aware when I "clench" the jaw out of tension, and trying not to open really wide (such as yawning). So -- I'm at the beginning stages of what may progress in the future into what bumblebeez describes. Growing older is such a joy :)

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 2:40PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I'm glad your jaw problem isn't serious Marita. I sound like an old person but I'm not! I'm 43 and my jaw was clicking away as a teenager. Since 2000, however, I have not chewed any gum or eaten things like beef jerky. Bagels, apples, that stuf is ok. I chewed a lot of bubble gum when I was young. Btw, I'm not heavy either.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 8:49PM
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