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Why does my jaw pop when I yawn?

Dr. Arnan Sisson, PT/ August 25, 2022

In today’s FAQ article , we answer the question “Why does my jaw pop when I yawn?” 

If you are dealing with jaw pain and would like to know how we can help, feel free to give us a ring at (804) 493-3256 (accepting messages 24/7).

If you’d like to request a call with one of our expert physical therapists click here!

Why does my jaw pop when I yawn?

On my third year of PT school, I worked at a TMJ or jaw specialty clinic. So, I got to see a ton of jaw patients, and I’ll try not to get too technical. If you feel like you’re having jaw pops when you yawn, it means… There are two joints with one bone in between. And when you open the top of the mandible or the jaw bone, it glides forward. There’s this little thing called a meniscus or disc on top of the mandible that is supposed to glide with it as it opens.

What happens sometimes is that it will either slip off the meniscus, or much more commonly, that the meniscus is dislocated forward.

And so it starts to glide and then pops off before colliding back and recapturing the disk, causing the pop you often hear. That’s usually what causes the pop. Often there’s a pop going out.

All that’s to say, a lot of people have popping jaws and it’s really not an issue. So even if there’s no pain associated with it, you might still want to get it checked out to see if it might become a painful issue.

Problems could happen when it becomes painful—especially if you’re having an increase in the amount of popping or pop volume. At that point, you’re probably heading towards your jaw getting locked open or closed, which can be quite scary situation.

So if you’re having loud popping and it’s getting worse, then definitely get someone to check it out. (Click here to request a free call with one of our expert physical therapists.) But that is generally why sometimes your jaw pops when you yawn.

Thanks so much for joining us, and that’s it for this post on “Frequently Asked Questions.”

But if you have any questions that you’d like us to answer about anything you’re dealing with, give us a quick email at sissonandassociatesPT@gmail.com , and we’ll do more posts like this if we get enough people asking questions!