Simple Answers to Medical Questions

Mouth & Oral Health

What Causes a Clicking Jaw and Popping Jaw Joint (TMJ)?

Movement of the joint is known as articulation and is usually a silent process. However, sometimes there may be abnormal sounds and sensations emanating from a joint during movement. One of the common such occurrences involves the jaw joint known as the temporomandibular joint or TMJ for short. This is the joint between the lower jawbone (mandible) and skull (temporal port) where articulation between the two bones occur.

Clicking of the jaw joint is a fairly common occurrence and sometimes becomes a chronic problem. Sometimes there may be resistance with a sudden pop during jaw movement. Clicking and popping are symptoms of some underlying problem of the jaw joint referred to as temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

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What is Xerostomia? Chronic Dry Mouth, Dryness

Dryness of the mouth may not seem like a serious symptom but if it persists and causes other symptoms, then it should be investigated. In most cases, a dry mouth is only short term, usually due to a low fluid intake especially when talking a lot or after an excessive intake of sugary foods. In cases where the dryness can only be alleviated by a constant intake of water, then it can be considered as a symptom of some underlying pathology. In these cases, dryness of the mouth is referred to as xerostomia, indicating that it is considered as a medical symptom rather than just an occasional occurrence.

The mouth cavity is constantly bombarded with different substances when eating or drinking and changes in air flow when breathing or talking. Lined with thin epithelium, the moisture within the mouth is dependent on saliva secreted from the salivary glands. Any disorder that affects the salivary gland will cause a reduction of moisture in the mouth, ultimately leading to mouth dryness.

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