TMJ - Causes

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What causes TMJ syndrome?

The causes of TMJ syndrome are not completely understood. Multiple factors contribute to the muscle tightness and dysfunction that characterize this condition. It is not clear whether some of these causes directly lead to TMJ syndrome or if they are a result of the disorder. Causes may include:

  • Misalignment (malocclusion) of or trauma to the teeth or jaw
  • Teeth grinding
  • Poor posture
  • Stress
  • Arthritis or other inflammatory musculoskeletal disorders
  • Excessive gum chewing
Return to Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)

See what others are saying

Comment from: /ED1975, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 04

My TMJ became increasingly noticeable in the first nine months of my recovery period following substance abuse. My drug of choice was opiates, not meth, which naturally harms the teeth. Once sober, which is a very difficult process, I turned from pills back to food/sweets, specifically lollipops with chewy centershundreds of them over the last year. I have since stopped with the lollipops and am trying not to allow myself to switch to another unhealthy addiction. Ever since, the left side of my jaw clicks when chewing, snaps when yawning, and locks at times. I can only chew most foods on the right side of my mouth. Carrots, raw vegetables, meats, chewy, hard, or crunchy foods take a long time. I can't handle large burgers or sandwiches that require my mouth to have to open wide. I often have to put pressure on the joint just in front of my ear when I chew to prevent my jaw from dislocating. I have a fear of dentists, so unless it's something simple as a bite plate to realign my jaw, I probably will live with this until I can't stand it any longer!

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Comment from: Lynne, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 06

I have been a snorer for many years and have tried many things to stop. Recently I purchased a Snorer's Friend (mandibular advancement device) similar to a mouth guard which is worn at night. It keeps the jaw in a forward position and really DOES help to stop snoring!! But I found I had a lot of pain each morning and it took hours for my teeth to re-align. Unfortunately I persisted in wearing the device and even after three weeks of stopping its use I have jaw, ear and head pain.

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