Most people have heard jaws click, either their own or someone else's, but clicking teeth? Some people refer to it as a "popping" sound rather than a clicking sound but regardless of the type of noise, under certain conditions, teeth do produce sound from time to time. You may have heard this clicking sound when pressing your tongue against a tooth, or after sipping a cold drink.

Whatever the case, you are no doubt wondering about this strange phenomenon. You may have also felt the tooth move slightly before hearing the click. It is possible for teeth to move; however, only one type of tooth movement is natural: mesial drift, the other types all signify that something may be wrong.

Your tooth might have moved:

  • Due to pressure caused by air entering the tooth due to a crack or cavity.
  • Due to a tooth infection whereby air and bacteria enter the tooth resulting in an abscess.
  • Due to a gum infection such as gingivitis which causes gums to swell painfully, lifting the tooth in its socket.
  • Due to mesial drift which refers to the natural forward motion of teeth as a person ages.

 With the exception of mesial drift, tooth movement along with clicking indicates that something may be wrong.

When a Tooth Clicks It's an Indication Something's Wrong

The first thing you should be aware of when noticing your teeth clicking is that there is likely to be some kind of issue with the tooth in question. Upon hearing your tooth click or move, you may also experience pain or discomfort or at least the beginnings of it. Your job then is to work out what might be the problem.

Has the tooth had dental work such as a filling or a crown? Is the gum tissue surrounding the tooth red and swollen or at least sore to the touch? Does it hurt to bite down on the tooth in question?

Seek Out Dental Treatment Immediately

If the tooth becomes infected, you will have a lot more to worry about than just clicking and swelling. Bacteria, as well as air will enter the tooth, creating pressure and leading to an abscess, which contains a build-up of infected material. The only way to release the pressure you feel once an abscess forms is for a dentist to burst the abscess, before giving you some medication to kill the infection. Once cleared up, the crack, cavity or dental work can be repaired.

A clicking tooth is never a good sign. Should you find that one of your teeth is creaking, clicking or popping, call your dentist immediately to book an appointment. Any action you take today could save a lot of money in the future.