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All Quiet on the Oral Front


Have you ever noticed a grinding or popping noise when you open your mouth? Maybe you've noticed it while you're eating or talking, maybe your partner has mentioned it to you, either way, these noises coming from your jaw are probably not "nothing to worry about." If you've grown accustomed to hearing your jaw pop when you move it throughout the day, you might be in for a wake-up call. A healthy temporomandibular joint should be quiet during functioning. Healthy means smooth operating, no pulling to one side, no deviation in speed or direction, and no loud noises.

What's Popping?

The temporomandibular joint is a hinge joint. Operating similar to the hinge of a door, the mechanics of the temporomandibular joint are also translatable. For a door hinge, if the pin isn't securely fastened through the knuckles of the hinge, the joint will pop out of place. This problem is represented in the jaw when you hear popping noises. The "knuckle" of the temporomandibular joint is the discal ligament. If this ligament becomes damaged, either from trauma, clenching, or regular wear and tear, it can slip out. Once separated from between your temporal bone and mandible, it has to snap back into place to resume functioning. This snapping back into place creates the snapping sound that can indicate a temporomandibular joint disorder.

Why Is Popping Bad?

Because your jaw is used to perform repetitive tasks that are almost unavoidable, the problem caused by a dislocated discal ligament can get much worse quickly. These tasks include things such as:

  • Chewing
  • Speaking
  • Swallowing
  • Smiling or Frowning

These functions are all things we do routinely, most of which we perform without thinking twice. For scale, we use our temporomandibular joint (TMJ) roughly 2,000 to 3,000 times a day on average, unless you're actively counting, this number is probably not on your mind and establishes the gravity of the consequences of the problem. When you consider the importance of these uses, you quickly realize there isn't a real way to avoid using your jaw joint, which inevitably makes things worse and can cause the development of chronic pain.

It's important to note that continued popping of the TMJ can lead to irreversible damage to the joint. That being said, avoid popping your jaw like you're cracking your knuckles, for your jaw's sake. If the disc that lines the TMJ doesn't snap back into place, a soft layer of tissue known as retro-discal tissue will be the only thing protecting bone tissue from grinding up against adjacent bone tissue. Prolonged movement between bones can cause inflammation, also known as arthritis. Once the retro-discal tissue is worn through and bones begin to grind against one another, you can begin hearing a new sound: grinding.

How Can Balance Epigenetic Orthodontics Help Treat Your TMD?

Noises emanating from the jaw is, unsurprisingly, not healthy. In fact, it could mean future development of arthritis and in such a frequently used joint like the jaw, once the damage is done there is no going back. Continued jaw popping can mean that you have exacerbated your temporomandibular joint disorder and progressed it into what can be best described as a nightmare. If you notice sounds such as clicking, snapping, or popping coming from your jaw while you chew or speak, it might be time to seek neuromuscular dental care. Early treatment could be the difference between chronic arthritic pain and manageable help. To schedule your appointment today, call Dr. Buck at (425) 409-2086 or visit our contact page. 

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Epigenetic Orthodontics can open and protect the airway enhancing breathing both during sleep and awake activities.

Dr. Buck practices a philosophy that integrates airway into all diagnosis and treatments. Dentistry has traditionally not considered the airway when planning dental treatments. Fortunately, today there is a rapidly growing movement that now recognizes how dentistry can have an impact on the airway which affects breathing during sleep. If dental treatments, including TMJ, orthopedic and orthodontics are well planned the result can be that the airway is protected or even enhanced. There is a clear link between underdeveloped and retruded jaws together with narrow dental arches that puts a patient at risk for sleep breathing disorders.

Please visit this site for more information; Airway Health

WOW! A 54% decrease in forward head posture; 164% increase in the antero-posterior size of the airway; 176% increase in the lateral size of the airway all from epigenetically centered jaw development orthopedics. This is the future of orthodontics!​