What Are the Causes and Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is a common issue that affects the joints on either side of the head. Also known as TMD, this condition is caused by a variety of factors including bruxism, stress, physical trauma, and genetics. Resulting complications can lead to widespread and significant discomfort. Dr. Mark Tall in Idaho Falls, ID, can perform a comprehensive oral health exam to determine your unique causes and symptoms of TMJ disorder and provide personalized treatment such as mouth guards based on your unique concerns. TMJ treatment can help alleviate uncomfortable symptoms and restore your oral health for years to come. 

Bruxism: A Leading Cause of TMD

TMJ disorder can be the result of damage or inflammation in your jaw joints. Day-to-day use places constant pressure on the joints and tendons within your jaw. This pressure on your TMJs is further aggravated by bruxism, or chronic teeth grinding and clenching.

Illustration of effects of bruxism

Although bruxism itself is caused by various issues. Anxiety and stress are common factors that may lead you to grind your teeth and clench your jaw. When you are stressed, your body produces excess energy. Although clenching your jaw is your body's attempt to release that energy, constant anxiety and stress can place damaging pressure on your jaws. In other cases, dental misalignment or missing teeth can lead to bruxism. Your jaws may attempt to counteract misalignment by shifting themselves back and forth, also adding strain and eventually pain. 

Other Causes of TMJ

In addition to bruxism, there are many other factors that may contribute to the development of TMJ including: 

  • Dental damage: Missing, misaligned, and worn teeth can offset the force of your bite, putting your TMJs under unusual strain.
  • Physical trauma: A facial injury or traumatic impact can damage your jaw joints or dislodge the cushioning disc. In other cases, whiplash can stretch or tear your facial muscles.
  • Posture: Poor posture will affect the way that you hold your head and neck, compressing your TMJs. 
  • Autoimmune diseases: Rheumatoid arthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders can lead to jaw inflammation, especially in young children.
  • Arthritis: Age-related arthritis can cause the cushioning tissues inside your joints to wear.

Determining the underlying cause of your condition is vital. Dr. Tall can effectively treat the root of the disorder instead of only addressing symptoms, ensuring lasting relief from pain and discomfort.

Dr. Mark Tall will assess your medical history and symptoms to create a personalized treatment plan for TMJ disorder and restore your oral health in a non-invasive procedure.

Recognizing the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

Although the causes of TMJ disorder can vary from patient to patient, most experience similar symptoms:

  • Constant dull ache or sharp facial pain 
  • Popping or clicking noise when you move your jaw
  • Grinding sensation in the joints
  • Jaw stiffness, including the inability to open or close it fully
  • Ear pain
  • Tinnitus, or ringing in your ears
  • Tension in your shoulders, neck, and upper back
  • Chronic headaches
  • Tingling in your arms and hands

Your treatment for TMJ will depend on the cause of your disorder as well as your symptoms and their severity. We use conservative techniques and will provide non-surgical treatment in most cases. 

Receive Effective Relief

Dr. Mark Tall will assess your medical history and symptoms to create a personalized treatment plan for TMJ disorder and restore your oral health in a non-invasive procedure. To schedule a consultation, call us at (208) 525-4780 or contact us online for more information. 

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