Hey, don't worry about posting your concerns again . . .
First, I would strongly suggest that you tell the dentist or dental hygienist (whoever you are seeing first) that you are very anxious . . . nowadays, my dentist, for example, explains to me what he is going to do to check things out and to tell him to stop if I need some time, etc.
Second, before you go, make a list of symptoms and when things happen . . .for example, does your jaw pop when you are eating? does it wake you up at night? etc. All this information may help your dentist to understand better what is going on with you.
Third, let's assume you do suggest surgery . . . . if you are uncomfortable with the thought, then seek a second opinion. I have found that my dentist uses the least invasive procedure possible and when surgery is necessary (and I have had to have surgery), he explains why it is necessary for surgery, answers all of my questions, and even suggests that I seek a second opinion . . . because I am very anxious about going to the dentist and having work done, he is extremely good about providing me with the option of having someone there with me if I want, etc.\
Fourth, whether or not a mouth guard will get rid of your popping just depends on what is causing your popping, etc. The best person to answer this question is your dentist but even he or she may not be able to guarantee anything as we all react differently . . . I had wisdom teeth removed including one that was impacted and except for a minor bruise, I had no problem (I was eating within 4 or so hours after the surgery). A close friend had one wisdom tooth removed and she looked like a chipmunk for almost 3 days (however, as much as she did not want to go out in public, she felt pretty good and it gave her an excuse to eat mega doses of Hagen Das ice cream which we, her loyal friends, brought to her every day. Between you and me, the chipmunk look made her look pretty healthy but she didn't think so).
All of this to say is that dentistry is not the 1950s dentistry . . . . it is super sophisticated . . . .but don't be afraid to ask questions, ask for a second opinion, see a specialist . . . do what makes you feel comfortable . . . sometimes for those of us with anxiety, we feel better if we take control of the situation . . . do let us know how you are doing and check back here because there may be some colleagues here who have had direct experience with popping and mouth guards . . . take care, kc