How to Fix Jaw Popping: Causes and Effective Treatments for TMJ Issues

Do you find that your jaw keeps popping when you open your mouth? This experience can be unpleasant and uncomfortable, and although it may not indicate anything urgent or severe, it’s still something you don’t want to ignore. Jaw popping can suggest that you have an issue with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which can lead to several concerns later in life.

If you are currently experiencing jaw popping, you may want to reach out to a dental professional and get it checked out. Before you do, though, take a look at this comprehensive guide to this fairly common issue. Here, you’ll find some common causes of this condition, how to know when to be concerned, some at-home and in-office remedies, and more. 


The sound of your jaw clicking can be jarring, and while it may not be painful, it can still cause plenty of discomfort in its own way. So, what is causing the noise you hear when you open your mouth, bite, or chew? 

The popping noise occurs in the temporomandibular joint or TMJ. These small hinge joints are critical as they allow you to move your jaw. However, this movement can create friction with other parts of the anatomy, resulting in a popping or clicking sound. 

There are many reasons why the TMJ may be making a noise when in use. Some are normal and have no cause for concern, but others may indicate an issue with the TMJ. Knowing the difference between the two is essential to address TMJ issues.


Now you know where that jaw popping noise comes from, but you are probably still wondering, why it happens. Many potential causes of TMJ popping exist, but a handful are the most common.

So, why does my jaw pop when I chew or simply open my mouth to speak? Poor habits like excessive gum chewing, jaw clenching, fingernail biting, and others can erode your jaw joints, leading to an occasional jaw popping when eating, yawning, speaking, and more. This kind of jaw popping is generally no real cause for concern. 

Involuntary teeth clenching and grinding, also known as bruxism, is another common cause of TMJ issues. Some people experience bruxism during the day, but others do it at night and, therefore, have less control over the movement. The stress and tension placed on the TMJ can be why your jaw pops when chewing or speaking.

Facial injuries that cause a dislocated or broken jaw can result in a popping sound when opening your mouth. These issues must be treated swiftly, so reach out to your doctor if you’ve had a recent jaw injury.

A misaligned bite, or malocclusion, is another potential cause of jaw popping. If your teeth don’t line up correctly when you bite down, it can result in excessive stress on certain parts of your jaw, resulting in TMJ issues. This issue may require orthodontic intervention and can continue creating unpleasant symptoms if not properly treated.

Another cause is arthritis, which can reduce the amount of cartilage in your jaw. Cartilage allows for smooth and soundless movement of the TMJ, so the joint can begin to make clicking and popping sounds when lost. 


Fortunately, jaw popping is generally not a cause for serious concern. As unpleasant as the sound and feeling can be, it is usually easy to correct, even if it needs treatment. 

However, there are a few instances when you should reach out to your doctor as soon as possible to address your condition and avoid any further related issues. Those instances include the following:

  • You feel pain when your jaw pops
  • Your jaw locks up after it pops
  • You have problems biting or chewing
  • You can’t open your mouth wide
  • You experience head, ear, jaw, neck, or face pain

Jaw popping and pain are a combination you’ll want to solve. It can be an indication of TMJ disorder, which comes with a variety of unpleasant symptoms. Fortunately, there are effective treatments for this issue, but you’ll need to see your dentist first, so reach out immediately.


There are ways to address jaw popping issues at home and in your dentist’s office. Even if you want to explore an at-home routine, you’ll still need to see your dentist for an examination to ensure the remedy you want to use will be effective for your condition. Schedule an appointment first to get their recommendations on potential treatments at home.

At-Home Remedies

Depending on the cause of your jaw popping, you may be able to treat the issue from the comfort of your own home. Things like nail biting, excessive gum chewing, teeth clenching, and teeth grinding won’t necessarily require significant medical intervention. You may be able to address them with a few simple methods.

You can try using hot or cold compresses. Ice packs can reduce swelling in the jaw and restore normal, fluid motion. Heat can help the muscles relax and offer the same soothing effect. 

If a bad habit like nail biting or gum chewing is causing the issue, you likely just need to drop those habits to address your jaw popping. You can also work to manage the stressors in your life more effectively, as jaw clenching, teeth grinding, and general muscle aches can all result from tension.

Finally, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be helpful tools in reducing the inflammation that might be causing the jaw popping you’re experiencing. 

Professional Treatment

There are several professional treatments to help address your jaw popping. If the condition is caused by grinding or clenching the teeth at night, a night guard may be the best solution. Your dentist can create a custom-fitted mouthguard to wear when you sleep to reduce the pressure on your jaw. 

Jaw issues caused by dental issues can require corrective treatment to address. That can include restorative treatments like crowns, dental implants, or a full mouth reconstruction. It can also mean orthodontic treatments like braces or clear aligners to properly align your teeth.

It’s rare, but some severe cases may require surgeries like arthroplasty or arthroscopy to address jaw issues. Fortunately, these procedures can be highly effective when they are necessary.


When you come to MR Dental Aesthetics for TMJ treatment, you’ll receive more than just a healthy, functioning, and attractive smile. We equip our patients with the knowledge they need to prevent systemic diseases linked to poor oral health

Our approach prioritizes oral health and functional assessment before addressing any cosmetic concerns. We provide compassionate, personalized care to every patient, especially those who experience dental phobia. We understand that visiting a dentist can be uncomfortable for some, but we are dedicated to keeping our patients comfortable and well-cared for during every visit.

You’ll receive the undivided attention of Dr. Rashti, who will carefully listen to your concerns and move along at your pace. With 20 years of experience, she is renowned worldwide for her personalized approach, treating each patient with respect and privacy. At MR Dental Aesthetics, we specialize in using innovative techniques in dental care to restore your smile.

When you’re ready to address your TMJ issues, contact MR Dental Aesthetics and schedule your appointment.

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