If one has popping and clicking is that usually a sign of disk related problems rather than muscle? Also if you have clicking for several years(like 16) is it safe to assume the disks are pretty well shot?
I have had popping for at least 8-10 years. I have recently realized that other symptoms I have had may be due to TMJD and have gotten a few new symptoms lately as well. My new doctor thinks that I most likely have a displaced disc (at least on one side) and the x-rays have shown that I have a loose ligament which allows my condyle to come out of socket when I open wide. This is where I get my loudest pop. He thinks my condyle is popping on and off the disc, and is not permanently displaced. I also have muscular issues which he has determined from an EMG. He has found evidence of possible fibrous or scar tissue in the joint and inflammation. I have NOT had an MRI and he is not recommending one at this time. (Even though, it would be nice!) He says that he usually gets more accurate results with his tests than with the MRI (because of reader error). I asked him if he thought my disc could be perforated or deteriorated and he said that normally when that is the case, the test in which the computer "listens" to the joint (I don't know the name of it) would show much higher numbers at certain frequencies. I hope he is right.
I am not sure if this helps to answer your question. Sorry I can't tell you more. Good Luck!!
[This message has been edited by totallyconfused (edited 07-02-2003).]
From all that I've read, it indicates that clicking is a sign of a displaced disc, usually forward.
The clicking sound is the jaw snapping back into position underneath the disc. Then, as opening continues, the disc remains in its proper position until full opening. However, shortly before full closure, the condyle slips back off of the disc creating a soft closing pop. Clicking sounds which occur as the jaw is just beginning to open are usually less a problem and easier to treat than those clicks that occur at almost maximum opening. The reason for this is that the disc has not yet slipped very far out of position, therefore, the ligaments holding the disc in position have not been stretched too severely.