Clicking and Locking Jaw

by Danielle
(Fargo, ND)

» Clicking and locking jaw


For about two years now, I have had a horrible click to my jaw. Sometimes it's painful, sometimes not. It occurs when I chew and kiss. Basically whenever I have to move it. About once a month it locks open while chewing. Sometimes it feels like my face got struck by lighting when it happens and other times I can just feel it slipping and am now able to stop it from happening.

When it does happen, eating and talking are not options. The only way it becomes unlocked is by going to bed for the night. And in the morning, all is good, just the clicking. (I'm assuming it the relaxation at night). So if it locks in the morning, it is a very long day.

Also when I open, the entire jaw shifts and does not pop in unison. (It shifts to the right and pops first on the left side and then the right side). Viewing your chart, everything is definitely happening in the TM Joint.

Do you feel the exercises you have on this site would work for me? I have never done any nor sought professional help for my jaw.

Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.

Hello Danielle,
First a couple questions? Have you had your wisdom teeth removed under anaesthetic, or major dental work with the molars? When did this begin?

Thirdly, do you suffer from facial pain, or headaches? Any suboccipital pain at the base of the skull?

You almost certainly have a severely damaged meniscus that is allowing the joint to dislocate. Hence my questions about what caused it.

You've left this a long time. Too long if I may say so.

I would certainly start with the exercises, but very gently. Any that cause the dislocation, avoid.

Start looking for someone who works with jaw joints. That might be your dentist or chiropractor, but physical therapist too. This is a nasty case, and you need someone really experienced.

A bite plate at night might help, but it sounds like your problems are not brought on at night, as is often the case. Do you suffer from bruxism? Grinding of the teeth at night?

The big thing is to take small bites and not open your jaw wide. It's hard but the best. No apples or burgers. Cut your food up into small pieces.

Chewing gum might aggravate it.

I wish I could be more helpful. Try at all costs to avoid surgery.

Good luck and let me know how you get on a month or two. Start with your dentist.

Dr B

» Clicking and locking jaw

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Jun 05, 2015
Much Thanks
by: Anonymous

First of all, I want to thank you for your advice. I've gone a long time with people telling to get help with it but I'm guess I've just been stubborn!

To answer your questions. Yes, I had all 4 wisdom teeth pulled. But not under anesthetic and not even under the "laughing gas". Just a numbing type of shot. I've given birth to 3 children and would choose that any day over getting my teeth pulled again. Worse experience of my life!!! The doctor was physically on top of me, breaking, and pulling chunks of my teeth out. I could tell everything he was doing. A few days after, I got a severe infection and ended seeing a doctor for it. That was in 2005.

Not much facial pain. My jaw is just constantly tense/tight so that wears on ya!

Yes to headaches; most are either behind my eyeballs or yes, at the base of my skull in the back.

No to teeth grinding. Just a lot of clenching from my jaw being quite tight. I feel like I can never relax my face.

But yes, as soon as insurance allows, I will be seeking help. The tightness, clicking, and occasional locking is just getting too much to handle.

Again, thank you. - Danielle

Hello Danielle,
Just like adjusting the neck, and surgically doing a good hip replacement, pulling wisdom teeth is an art. It sounds like you had a butcher at work. But you can only live your life forwards.

Start by massaging your face yourself, or asking he who must be obeyed to do it. I'm not a sexist, I have a she who must be obeyed! Gently go over the muscles of the jaw as you open and close, without going far enough to click.

Your neck will need to be adjusted most likely, and the jaw joints balanced. It's difficult, so don't be impatient. Rome wasn't built in a day.

The TMJ exercises at Chiropractic Help might help; do them gently at first, until you know where you are.

An orthotic between the teeth at night sometimes helps, but it's a real art to make it correctly. It's not pleasant, but some folk swear by them.

Good luck, and let me know how you get on.

By the way, you've been saving huge sums by not having insurance. Nows the time to spend it.

Dr B

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