Jaw clicking and popping – What does it mean?

Jaw clicking and popping – what does it mean?
By Reza Ghannadan – QubeCore Physiotherapist

Jaw sounds can arise from many causes. Below are common types of sounds people may feel when they open their mouth.


Clicking can occur when certain muscles around the jaw responsible for opening and chewing become overused and tight. This can be due to grinding/clenching of the teeth or other causes. When the muscles become tight, they can pull on a disc in our jaw. When this disc becomes pulled, it can cause a “pop” or “click” to occur in the jaw when we open or close our mouth.


Clunking can occur when the jaw bone moves too much in its socket when we open our mouth. When it moves too much, it can cause a clunking sound. Often, people may feel they are dislocating their jaw and can even sometimes feel the jaw moving out of the joint when they open too wide. This can be a result of injury, genetics, grinding or other causes.


Grinding can occur when stiffness arises in the jaw. People may have limitations in opening their mouth and may experience jaw pain. Grinding can be a result of osteoarthritis, disc injuries, degenerative changes and other disorders.

It’s also important to know that jaw sounds on their own are not something to be worried about. Often, these sounds may not necessarily indicate there is something “wrong” with the jaw.

However, if these sounds are also accompanied by discomfort, pain, limitations in opening, chewing and other functional activities, then having them addressed is important.

Regardless of the type of jaw sound, seeing a physiotherapist with experience in managing jaw disorders is important. A physiotherapist can assess the jaw, develop a treatment plan with you and assist you in your recovery.

QubeCore Sports & Rehab offers physiotherapy in North Vancouver for a wide range of injures and conditions. To book your appointment with our experienced physiotherapists, call 604.210.2274 or simply BOOK ONLINE.