Clicking in jaws is very common, and most dentist have no idea what it means.
Often the clicking in the jaw joint does not hurt, but the fact it is clicking means that it is not functioning as it should.
The Jaw and the base of the skull are normally separated by a little disc, and when this disc slips away from the joint, you hear a click. You may not get pain in the joint, however you may get headaches, or even other symptoms, which can be very varied, ranging from itchyness to balance disturbances.
Nine times out of ten the problem is the position of the teeth, the bite has often been changed by a dentist (putting a filling in or a high crown), or an orthodontist putting the teeth in an uncomfortable position for the jaw, and stressing the joint – hence starting a click.
How do I know if I have a problem?
Firstly, if you have pain, then there is a problem. If your jaw clicks, then you also have a problem.
In perfect health, you jaw should open in a straight line if you look in the mirror, if your jaw opens to the side, and then clicks into the middle, then you could have a problem in one joint.
You should be able to open your mouth about 50mm when you open and stretch. When you move your jaw to the side, it should move about 15mm. If these measurements are reduced, then you could have a significant problem, even if your jaw does not click!
What can be done?
Depending on the severity of the problem, there could be several solutions. These range from simply straightening a few teeth, to making a hard bite splint to heal the damage to your jaw joint, then reorganise the bite to put the joint in a comfortable position.
If you have a soft bite guard made, and you are told to wear it at night, then you problem is only going to get worse. Most dentists do not understand the jaw joint, and the easy option is to make a soft night guard, and dentists think that if you separate the teeth, the problem will go. Unfortunately this is not only irritating to wear every night, but it just does not work!