Jaw popping is one of the most common causes of hearing loss among children. Children are usually affected by it when they are between 2 and 5 years old. The cause of this problem is not known yet but it could be due to a genetic defect or it may be caused by something else. There have been several studies conducted to determine the exact reason behind this condition. Some of them suggest that there might be some kind of trauma during the development stage. Another theory suggests that it could be caused by a virus or bacteria. However, no one really knows what causes this problem.
There are many different types of treatments available to treat this condition such as surgery, medication, and other methods. The main thing is to get rid of the problem completely so if possible do not try any type of treatment until all attempts have failed.
The first step to cure your child’s jaw popping is to consult with your doctor. Your doctor will ask you a few questions which include:
What age did your child start experiencing problems? What was the nature of these problems? How long had he experienced the problem before it got worse?
Did he experience any symptoms like headaches, fatigue, nausea etc.?
If yes then what were they and how severe were they? Was there anything that could be done for him at that time? Was there anything else that you think might be helpful in determining the cause of his condition?
Your doctor will also ask you a few questions to your child such as:
Does your jaw pop or makes a sound whenever you chew food or open your mouth wide? Does it feel like something is blocking the movement of your jaw whenever you try to open it wide? Do you experience any pain in your ears whenever there is a popping sound in your jaw?
Your doctor will examine your child’s ears and jaw to figure out the extent of the problems. He may also suggest some medical tests such as a computerized tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance image (MRI) scan. These scans will allow the doctor to see if there is any structural damage in your child’s head. After this, treatment can be provided as soon as possible. If there is any abnormality found then the appropriate treatment can be started immediately. If there are no problems found then the doctor will try to find out if the jaw popping is temporary or not. If it is then there is nothing to worry about, and treatment can be avoided. If it is not then the doctor will refer you to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist who can provide permanent treatment.
The most common causes of ear popping or ear pain while yawning are:
Ear Infection: The most common cause of earache is an infection inside the ear. This may or may not be accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, headache, diarrhea or general discomfort.
In this case, a brief course of antibiotics will clear up the problem. If your child has recently suffered an ear infection then this is probably what is causing the ear popping or jaw popping.
Sources & references used in this article:
The dental-chiropractic cotreatment of structural disorders of the jaw and temporomandibular joint dysfunction. by AS Chinappi Jr, H Getzoff – Journal of Manipulative and …, 1995 – europepmc.org
Jaw pain prevalence among French-speaking Canadians in Quebec and related symptoms of temporomandibular disorders by JP Goulet, GJ Lavigne, JP Lund – Journal of dental research, 1995 – journals.sagepub.com
Diesel injector popping tool by GM Graham – US Patent 2,263,803, 1941 – Google Patents