Why Are My Teeth Making Clicking Sound When Pushed?

If your teeth are making a clicking sound, it could be due to gum disease. Infection in your gums loosens its grip on teeth, and the loosening of the gum’s grip on the teeth results in movement whenever you push your teeth.TMJ disorders, bite problems, or dental structures can also cause the clicking sound in your teeth when pushed.

When my daughter was about to join college, she complained that her teeth made a clicking sound when she pushed them inward or outward. At first, it wasn’t noticeable until she could feel a clicking sound whenever she pushed them.

If she applied an outward force with her tongue, you could even hear the click while sitting next to her. Then, when pushing them inward with her thumb, I could hear the clicking sound again.

As a parent, I got concerned with her constant worry and made an appointment with our family dentist. The doctor did some tests and ruled out the cause to be gum disease. The gums had a less firm grip on her tooth due to an infection.

Could you be experiencing the same problem? Keep reading this article, and let’s learn about other causes and associated symptoms of clicking teeth when pushed.

What causes the clicking sound whenever the teeth get pushed?

The clicking sound felt when we push our teeth inward or outward may result from various causes. The clicking signifies the loosening of the teeth from the jaw bone or the gum region.

The following conditions may result in the loosening of teeth and consequential clicking whenever pushed in or out.

1. Gum disease

Our dental health often gets threatened by many diseases. Since the teeth hold most food particles between them, bacterial infection attacks the food particles causing infection to the gums.

The infection-causing germs affect not only the gums but also the bones holding the teeth. If these bones get infected, the teeth’ anchoring loosens, making the teeth drift and click on each other as they move.

Other symptoms associated with gum diseases include:

  • Reddening of the gums
  • Swollen and sensitive gums
  • Bad breath that doesn’t respond quickly to treatment

When you notice that your teeth start clicking, general dental treatment may help prevent adverse effects like teeth loss or terminal dental diseases.

2. Dental structure

Our dental structures vary a big deal. For example, do you know that some people get their wisdom teeth removed to allow their teeth to fit?

I once witnessed a colleague who had their wisdom teeth removed due to their small jaws that couldn’t accommodate their teeth.

By removing some of their teeth, the mouth gets enough space to accommodate the somewhat overlapping teeth.

When teeth get displaced due to limited space in the mouth, they may cause a clicking sound as they try fitting in. If this clicking phenomenon is happening, and you have a small jawbone, removing your wisdom teeth through a dental procedure may provide a solution.

Sometimes the clicking continues, especially after braces removal or extra-teeth removal.

This scenario happens as the teeth try to occupy the extra space and stop overlapping on one another. Braces removal makes the teeth free to move and drift since they no longer get held by the braces, thus causing the clicking when pushed.

3. TMJ disorders

A young woman who's suffering from TMJ (Temporomandibular joint) pain is clenching her jaw in pain in her bed.

Suffering from a TMJ disorder may feel as though your wisdom or last molar teeth were clicking. The TMJ (Temporomandibular joint) disorders affect the joint between the lower jaw and the skull.

If the joint gets affected, clicking occurs at this joint, and it may feel as though the teeth were clicking when pushed because a push on the teeth would put pressure on this area. This disorder may result from jaw clenching or teeth grinding due to Bruxism condition, especially in children.

The disorder may be stress-induced, making the person grind their teeth more often, tighten their jaws, or clench them, often leading to clicking and sore tightness in the jaw.

Other symptoms of TMJ disorders include:

  • Pain in the facial muscles and jaw area
  • Difficulty when chewing or biting
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Ear pain and hearing loss in adverse conditions
  • Jaw locking and ringing in the ears

Treating this condition may vary from resting the jaw to placing bite plates to prevent grinding and clenching.

4. Bite induced problems

Did you know your biting technique has the potential to loosen your teeth from their grip? Naturally, teeth move when we bite food to accommodate the pressure from our bites.

But when we make imbalanced biting, our teeth may move or shift in unwanted positions creating gaps between the teeth. These gaps cause the teeth to click when moved because their original holding got tempered.

Some people develop the clicking problem after stopping wearing their retainers after orthodontic treatment. While the teeth shift to their original places after a bite, the push may result in clicking sounds.

Jaw traumas from accidents may bring about the teeth clicking too. Missing a tooth and not replace it might as well cause the problem you may be experiencing.

When teeth drift to the available space, they become loose, and pushing them will cause a click. Replacing a lost tooth in a dental implant procedure may offer a solution when the created gap is filled, and the teeth don’t move.

5. Harmful habits

Teeth clicking may result from our bad dental habits since we need to bite food with our teeth. When we start biting other non-food and complex objects, the teeth shift and become loose.

Some people bite on pens, pencils, fingernails, hard plastic, and stones, forcing our teeth to move out of their positions.

When we bite on these non-food objects, it causes shifting on the teeth resulting in teeth clicking later. We should bite the required items and avoid harmful habits to enjoy excellent dental health.

Is my cause of teeth clicking physical or health related?

Health-related causesPhysically related causes
Gum diseasesHarmful habits
TMJ disorders 
Bite problems 
Dental structures 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Why do my teeth move when I push them?

Your teeth usually move but to a small degree. But when the movement gets intense with associated clicking and becomes very noticeable, it means that your teeth have gotten lose from their dental grip.

Why do my teeth make a clicking sound?

Teeth make a clicking sound after the teeth loosening lead to teeth movement. When the teeth get pushed, they grind over each other, and as they move, it results in the clicking sound you hear.

How long does it take for a jaw to stop clicking?

TMJ disorders that cause the jaw to click may take different time frames to heal. Sometimes the clicking stops immediately after biteplate installation, and sometimes if you need to rest your jaw, it might take days to go away.

How do I stop my teeth from clicking?

As discussed in this article, you will need to identify its cause to stop clicking. If the reason originates from a dental health condition, treating it will resolve the problem. Physical causes like bad biting habits will require refraining yourself from such tendencies.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, teeth clicking signify a dental problem that needs medical attention. By identifying the cause of your problem, it becomes easy to resolve it. As the case with my daughter, her clicking was due to gum disease. With good oral hygiene, she has enjoyed her dental health for years now since she was diagnosed with the condition.

Ensure you get your dentist to check you regularly to keep off any dental diseases that may cause you suffering. Our dental health forms a crucial part of our general health since most food starts its digestion in the mouth, where our teeth work on the grinding and crushing. Once you notice disturbing teeth clicking, visit your dentist and have your dentist suggest the best treatment cause.