Jaw popping and clicking tics

Jaw popping, also known as jaw clicking or jaw snapping, can be a tic involving sudden movements of the jaw. Jaw tics can cause a strain on the muscles, joints and affect daily activities such as speaking and eating.

There are different terms for the different actions, as there are many different ways tics need to be let out. For example, snapping the jaw may come from an urge to move the jaw in a certain way, whereas clicking the jaw may come from an urge to hear a clicking or popping sound.

Despite the differences, tics come from the same processes, and often treated in the same way.

What kind of tic is this?

Motor equals movement, and therefore a motor tic

Vocal tics may occur at the same time, but this would be a separate tic, or combined with the jaw be part of a more complex tic.

Jaw snapping would be a simple tic on its own, however can occur as part of a complex tic, meaning more muscle groups are used, or occurs as more of a bigger pattern.

Main article: The difference between simple and complex tics

What to look out for

Aches and pains, jaw tics interfering with eating or day to day activities. 

Is this caused by Tourette syndrome?

This could be Tourette if tics persist for longer than twelve months, and consist of both motor and vocal tics. This is stated in the DSM-5, with more information in the article below.

Main article: The difference between Tourette and other tic disorders

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Hi, I'm Sam. I write about Tourette and OCD to help myself and others.


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