Are You at Risk of TMJ Syndrome?
TMJ syndrome refers to problems associated with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects your lower jaw to the skull.
It’s part of a complex system, and a problem in any part of it can result in pain in the jaw and face, headaches, popping or clicking noises in the jaw, or a locked jaw. Although researchers are not entirely sure what causes TMJ syndrome, there are multiple risk factors.
Trauma: Blunt force to the jaw, or even something like whiplash during a car accident, can break or dislocate the jawbone, leading to TMJ syndrome.
Teeth grinding or clenching: Bruxism (or teeth grinding) and clenching your jaw are both considered types of micro-trauma that can also cause TMJ syndrome. Teeth grinding can result in misaligned teeth and overuse of the chewing muscles, while clenching puts pressure on jaw, both of which can lead to problems with the TMJ.
Arthritis: There are a few different types on arthritis that can affect the TMJ, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Misaligned bite: If your bite is misaligned, it can affect the other bones, muscles, and nerves in the mouth, including the TMJ.
Other causes: Cancer, excessive gum chewing, autoimmune diseases, and dental procedures/prolonged mouth opening or insertion of a breathing tube while in the hospital are all other potential causes of TMJ syndrome. TMJ syndrome may also co-exist with disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.