Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Questions TMJ

Are these crackling sounds in my ear from TMJ?

I had TMJ issues a few years ago and am wondering if the effects are still lingering. When I open my mouth wide or yawn, there is a pop in my jaw and I hear crackling in my ear on the affected side. Is this normal to experience this so long after TMJ issues? Is there anything I can do to fix it or will I have this forever?

17 Answers

Hi. Sorry for the delay in answering your question.
The pop you feel is your TMJ( temporal mandibular joint) . The noise may also be from the TMJ.
Try to avoid opening wide to yawn or eat large sandwiches.
There is a disc in the TMJ that can dislodge and this causes the popping sound.
There are mouth guards that can be fabricated which can recapture this disk,( I like the Gelb appliance) also there is a DNA appliance which is helpful to correct the bite, and correct and stabilize the TMJ.
Best to you,
Dr. Felicia Nesbit
TMJ issues never really completely heal. Your dentist can evaluate you for things that may be contributing to your current TMJ issues, such as grinding or serious bite problems.
yes it is normal for someone who has TMJ problems but I highly recommend an occlusal guard if you don't have one. Make sure it is professionally made not store bought and remember you pay for what you get. I prefer the lower and a hard/ soft occlusal guard because it will give you the comfort of wearing it during the day if need be.
Clicking or cracking without pain is the sound of the articular disc that is moving across the TM joint. It is related to Temporomandibular joint dysfunction but does not require treatment.The sound is the disc snapping forward but a little too late in the opening process.
Tough question . With a lot of TMJ issues extreme jaw movements create difficulties if not additional trauma to the disc and joint itself. Not sure exactly what problems you had with your TM Joint but trying to limit full extensions of the jaw will surely help. Joint noise is never a good sign but doesn't mean it's permanently a problem . You may need to revisit your Dr that helped treat your TMJ problems.
It is somewhat normal to hear clicking or popping from the jaw joint (TMJ). As long as it is not causing any pain or difficulty in function, I would not be too concerned.
Go to a TMJ specialist for evaluation.
First, a majority of the adult population has some amount of noise in their TMJ (Jaw joint), with no adverse affects, so that alone is not a major concern.  However, without knowing your history, I would recommend an exam by an orthodontist.  Having previous "TMJ issues" would raise concerns about a progressive condition that is now worsening, or a return to the same problems from the past.  Good news is that most of the problems with the TMJ can be helped with custom orthotic mouthpieces, that will move the jaw into a position that allows the problem to heal itself, but a detailed diagnosis is needed to discover the cause, or to rule out anything serious, like arthritis, or trauma.
Yes it is possibly related to your previous TMJ issues. You almost always
will be predisposed to flareups but there are some things you can do to
minimize the likelihood of flareups. Avoid chewing gum, opening wide, and
foods that require a lot of hard chewing. Increased stress can also help
to cause a flareup. If you clench and/or grind your teeth at night, a
nightguard might help. Aspirin, advil, or aleve as directed with food if
you have pain and a soft diet is recommended until symptoms subside. If
you need to see a dentist with expertise in TMJ in my neighborhood, try Dr.
Bernstein. Most flareups are self-limiting but see a doctor if symptoms
persist or are worsening. This is my opinion- not medical advice.
The first question I would ask you is do you have any pain or discomfort
when hear that Pop/click and crinkle noise? If the answer is Yes there
pain or discomfort, you should seek treatment with a Dentist in your area.
Possibly Googling the phrase "Dentist, TMJ, TMD, Joint Pain", etc and see
who comes up in your area. Not all Dentists treat this type of issue and
many times it involves treatment at the Oral Surgeons office as well with
Botox injections into the joint and other remedies. If there is No pain or
discomfort, then it's usually a symptom caused by either a lack of
cartilage in your TMJ joint b/w the condyle of the jaw and the socket in
the skull to which it connects to or it could be that your cartilage is out
of position. When it's out of position and you open, your ligaments in the
area tend to pull it back into the proper position over your condyle and
it's that friction of the cartilage sliding over the bone that produces the
Pop and sometimes crinkling noises. Imagine you snapping your fingers.
It's the friction of your fingers sliding over each other that causes that
Pop. Same idea applies here. In either case, where cartilage is thin or
out of position, you have two options. Do nothing and as long as their
isn't pain or discomfort, you continue on your normal daily life. The
risk? At some point pain may develop and you'll need more advanced
treatments like what I described above. This isn't always the case as I've
had patients with that Pop for years who haven't had issues. Others it can
and has developed into worse symptoms. If you don't want to risk it, your
dentist can make you an appliance to wear while you sleep called a Night
Guard, Occlusal Guard, Brux Guard (it goes by many names). Wearing this to
bed will keep your teeth separated from one another and create space in
your joint area, decrease inflammation and help prevent the wearing down of
the cartilage that can occur. Hope that helps!
That's a great question. It does not sound uncommon as TMJ can come and
go; especially depending on various factors like stressful situations or
grinding and clenching during sleep. I would suggest consulting with an
oral surgeon. Many of them specialize in the joints associated with your
jaw. They can better guide you in managing these symptoms with different
treatment approaches.
Combined Otolaryngology and Oral & Maxillofacial consultations are the best way to discern the etiology of your problems...
There are many different degrees, causes and underlying joint damage associated with TMJ disorders. Some of these issues can finally be totally resolved. Others may linger or remain. Sometimes seeing your dentist or a second dentist to follow this problem is a good idea.
Great question. A pop means the disc that sits in between the two bones and
acts as a shock absorber is stuck in front of the joint. When you open it
pops back into place. The grinding you hear is caused by the bones grinding
Sometimes people mistake TMD​ pain for an ear problem, such as an ear infection, when the ear is not the problem at all. When the joints move, they may produce sounds, such as clicking, grating, and/or popping. Others may also be able to hear the clicking and popping sounds. This means the disc may be in an abnormal position. Muscle spasms associated with TMD​ syndrome may cause difficulty swallowing.
TM​D​ syndrome can also cause headache and dizziness, potentially leading to nausea

Some individuals with TM​D​ syndrome may have a history of poor dentition or emotional distress

This is definitely TMJ related. Try to avoid opening your mouth big when
you yawn, bite into a sandwich, apple, etc. for a month or so, and if the
symptoms don't improve, see your dentist. Also, if you are a grinder or
clencher, you may be a candidate for a nightguard appliance.
Some people have long-term symptoms. If you have questions about your TMJ disorder or ways to remedy them, you should really speak with your dentist. Many general dentist now specialize (take extended study courses) in the treatment of TMJ issues.