As you might imagine, any joint that makes sounds is a sign that something is not working properly. It doesn’t matter if it is the jaw, hip, shoulder, of any other joint. Joint sounds are signs of breakdown and are usually a result of an extreme function. Fastball pitchers develop shoulder problems. Marathon runners can develop bad knees. Tennis players may have elbow problems.
People who grind or clench their teeth may develop joint problems. The teeth, jaws and muscles that are used to chew are all designed to go function in a more or less up and down motion. The teeth normally only touch momentarily while chewing or swallowing. During clenching or grinding, the teeth are together for much longer periods of time. The side to side motion stresses the teeth, muscles and joints. The clicking can occur from this severe abuse. While an occasional click can be reversible, a click that occurs during every opening is a sign of irreversible damage. This should be brought up and addressed at dental visits to prevent more debilitating problems.