Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > TMJ Forum

My Jaw has been cracking constantly for 4-5 months. Help?

First off I am 26. My left jaw joint has been popping/clicking constantly when I talk or open my jaw wide for the past 4 to 5 months. Talking is the main issue, though. I can barely finish a sentence without hearing a click. It is very distracting and horrifying to think I may have to live with this for the rest of my life.

Luckily, it is rarely painful and the only main other symptom I have is the TMJ headaches, which are awful. Depending on how much I talk, though, we are talking hundreds of clicks per day at least. It makes it very difficult to focus on what I am saying when all I hear is click, click, click, click, click...

Two major things come to mind as to what may have caused this, and from reading up on this issue neither may have been the underlying issue. In May I was punched very hard and directly on the jaw joint at a bachelor party I was throwing at the time, which would be potential cause number one. Potential cause number two happened a couple weeks later when my two upper wisdom teeth were removed. As the issue has become more pronounced over time, it is hard to determine the exact date as to when the clicking started, but it was around this time.

I've found very little on the internet about what I can do to treat this or what my next steps should be. I certainly don't think I am someone that is a candidate for surgery, but I also don't think that means I should have to just 'live' with it and do nothing either. So I came here. Please, if there is anyone out there who is relating to this, I need some advice. Help?
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replied September 13th, 2011
I have had exactly the same since the start of the year mines not as excessive as the clicking and talking but every time i yawn i get a loud click then my ears ring for awhile. I went to my hospital dental clinic and he didn't have too much knowledge of it but he has it himself and apparently its genetics? anybody else in your family have this problem too?

I cant recall being punched or have any impact on my jaw, it just happened. But now i have been given a dual splint from the hospital to wear when im asleep, its meant to stop the clicking after a month or so. I have just started using this so i got my fingers crossed that it'll help.
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replied September 13th, 2011
I do get a ringing in that ear every now and then as well. I don't know if I would be worried about it if it just happened during yawns or even while eating. The fact that reading what I just wrote would cause it to click a good 15 times or so while reading the paragraph is why it is so bothersome to me. It is the most distracting thing I believe I have ever dealt with as it makes work and any activity that involves talking MUCH more difficult

I also noticed that if I put my index finger in each ear and open my mouth, I can feel the movement and hear the click in the left ear. I feel nothing in the right ear, which I believe is normal.
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replied September 15th, 2011
I've noticed quite a few views without much feedback. I do really appreciate any kind of reply that I get. Here are my two main questions summarized below.

1.) Since this situation just started for me, is there any hope of recovery and resecuring my joint where it is supposed to be?

2.) If so, what steps do I need to take to make this a reality?
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replied September 16th, 2011
Hi EarlyRiser,

Sorry to hear about your problem. I too suffer from TMJ problems and have done for the past 6 months. I have been told that since it hasn't been going on that long that it can be more easily treated.

I recommend you doing some TMJ exercises, its like physical therapy. Have you tried this? If not I can find a good website and send you the link with it explaining them.

Also try icepacks in the day and heat packs at night. Ice packs help with inflamation and heat helps to relax the muscle.

If none of this helps above see the dentist and see what they say, if they don't help perhaps see an Osteopath. I went to see one once and she did this sort of massage to my face which really helped but I couldn't go to further treatments as it cost like 50 pounds for half an hour treatment. But if you find Osteopath schools they do treatments cheaper, I found one in my city for 20 pounds a treatment and 10 pounds if you are a student or not working. So I am going to try them.

Mouth exercises helped me alot, maybe about 70% so I am hoping an osteopath will help me with the other 30%. I also heard they can help to realign the jaw if its out of alignment.

If you feel you grind or clench your teeth at night then a dentist can help you with that. Like I said its best to visit a dentist just in case its something to do with your teeth.

But because you say you were punched and had wisdom teeth out its more likely that put stress on your jaw.

My problem started after I got ill with the Mumps. Its an infection which affects glands on your face and makes your face really swollen, like you've been beaten up really bad. I got better after 3 weeks and the swelling went down but a couple of weeks later I started getting TMJ problems, all the swelling from the illness had put my jaw under strain. So problems with your jaw don't have to start instantly after you've been punched etc it can start weeks even months later. It sucked because when I got better I was really happy obiviously but had no idea that it could cause these long term problems with my jaw. Also people don't take it seriously because you look fine and you don't have an illness. But they don't realise how annoying it can be.

I get pressure feeling around my Jaw and some pain around the jaw and ringing in my ear. Prior to doing the jaw exercises etc I had constant headaches, shooting pains in the temple, ear aches, neck pain and my bite was off. So the exercises really helped.

So if your willing to try mouth exercises first (as this is free and may help you) let me know and I'll give you a link to a website that shows you how.

Hope I have been of some help.
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replied September 16th, 2011
Thanks for the info Marley. I have done some stretches such as putting my tongue against my back teeth and opening my mouth. I am always interested in learning new stretches though. If I can fix it the free way, that would definitely be better. I just don't want to get to the point where my jaw starts locking up.

It really is scary to research this just because it makes you realize how bad it can and WILL probably get if not fixed. Then the scariest part about that is that there does not seem to be a way to ACTUALLY fix the problem at all.

I'm considering seeing a functional orthodontist. I'm skeptical about the fact that they do things differently then the universities teach them too, but apparently they are the best people to see for tmj issues. Have you heard anything about them?
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replied September 16th, 2011
I have never heard of a functional orthodonist so I can't give an opinion on it but I just went to my normal dentist, she is great because she doesn't tell you lies in order to get more money out of you so try and find a recommended dentist. She told me my jaw seemed okay and not to worry too much about it. I asked her how many people she gets in complaining of jaw pain and she said at least 4 people every week. She said its really common and in most cases nothing to worry about. She said stress makes it worse so don't stress about it and give it time. It can take a while for things to get better. Even up 2 a year. Just make sure you do everything you can to help it heal.

So definetly do some jaw exercises heres a link http://www.ehow.com/how_2352238_cure-tmj-j aw-exercises.html

Follow them for at least 2 weeks because after 2 weeks you should slowly see a difference. But make sure not to open your mouth too wide.

In the mean time, apply heat and ice and look for pressure points in your cheek/jaw area and neck area. Sometimes its just muscles spasming in different parts of your body and it can affect your jaw. Also keep good posture and massage around your jaw area, it really does help.

And most importantly don't worry about all the negative stuff you read online. Remember that these horror stories you hear affect a minority of people. In most cases TMJ problems go away with time. Its all about time and helping yourself to heal.

I know 5 people personally who have had TMJ problems and their jaws are fine now.

And remember if all fails then its always good to see an osteopath. Do you have any bad habbits that could be affecting your jaw like chewing food one side or biting your nails? And what exactly is a functional orthodontist?
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replied September 17th, 2011
Is Tinnitus & TMJ caused by Dental Work?
I am starting to think that a lot of ringing in the ears (tinnitus) has been caused by dentistry. Adjusting a patient's bite by slightly reducing a tooth as a possible remedial action might then cause the patient to adjust their jaw placement which then puts stress on the joints and muscles that support the jaw action, moving them into unbalanced positions and causing tinnitus. This will be an unpopular view amongst dental specialists but dentistry is an inexact practice and often times an art. I keep reading over and over that people have developed tinnitus and TMJ after dental work. The same thing happened to me.
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