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Popping or Clicking Jaws: What it Means

Popping or Clicking Jaws: What it Means

Many patients experience a popping or clicking noise in their jaw from time to time. While it rarely hurts or inconveniences them in any way, some still wonder about what it means. Here’s a brief explanation for some of our more curious patients.


When we open our jaws, the lower jaw bone glides down and slightly forward. In order for this to happen, the rounded edge of our jaw bones (known as the condyle) glide across a small lubricated disk (the articular disk) that separates the jaw bone from the base of our skull. However, sometimes the disk may be out of place, or out of shape, which causes the lower jaw bone to rub against the bottom of our skull.

The noise you hear when this happens is called crepitus.

Crepitus is Actually Fairly Common

In a study of over one thousand people, it was found that almost forty percent of those studied experienced crepitus in at least one side of their jaw. So if you happen to notice some popping or cracking while your chewing—don’t feel alone!

What if it Hurts?

Normally, any pain associated with crepitus is fairly minor, so it is normally treated with more simple measures. Simply eating softer foods, eliminated gum chewing, and using ice packs will usually alleviate any discomfort you are feeling.

Should you find chewing or every day functions to become abnormally painful, you may want to consult with an oral surgeon.

If you have any dental related questions you would like answered, feel free to ask us on Facebook, or even call our Brooklyn Heights Dental office—Signature Smile is here to help!

Signature Smile Dental Signature Smile Dental

Dr. Inna Trogan – DDS is experienced in cosmetic dentistry, periodontics, and general dentistry. An active member of the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Dental Association, Dr. Trogan continuously stays up-to-date on the latest state-of-the-art technologies and advances in dentistry. She takes personal pride in providing courteous and high quality professional treatment for all of her patients’ dental care needs.

Our dentists have served the residents of Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, DUMBO, and all of our other surrounding communities for years. They can be reached by phone, 718.246.5677 or at their office in 100 Pineapple Walk, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201. You can also book an appointment online.


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