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TMJ Disorder: Causes

What causes TMJ?

Written by South Florida dentist Dr. Jeffrey Lissauer, serving Boynton Beach, Delray Beach and Palm Beach

TMJ Disorder has a wide range of causes. For a given patient, pinpointing one cause can sometimes be a challenge, since numerous contributory factors are often involved. The following are the most common causes:

Trauma: An injury to the jaw, jaw joint, or chewing muscles can cause a person to develop TMD symptoms.

Grinding your teeth during sleep (Bruxism): The medical term for grinding your teeth during sleep is bruxism. Bruxism wears down your teeth, which causes bite changes and potential joint problems.

Excessive gum chewing: Often overlooked, excessive gum chewing can put unwanted pressure and wear on your jaw joint.

Clenching: People often clench their teeth when stressed, causing excessive pressure on the jaw joint.

Arthritis (Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis): Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, even the jaw joint.

Infection: The space of the jaw joint may become infected, causing changes in the joint’s architecture and function.

Auto-immune diseases: Auto-immune diseases have been found to cause joint problems in some patients.

Poor posture: Poor head posture can strain your neck muscles and the muscles aiding your jaw joint.

Stress: Stress increases clenching, grinding of your teeth, and poor posture. Thus, stress is often correlated with the onset of TMJ Disorder.

About my experiences helping patients with TMJ Disorder

After attending and teaching at Tufts Dental School, I moved to south Florida with my wife Joanne and have been practicing in the Delray and Boynton Beach area for over 25 years. Each year, more new patients come to my office for treatment of TMJ Disorder. The disease is certainly becoming more prevalent. Some dentists attribute this to the elevated stress levels in America, while others believe patients are just more apt to seek care. Regardless, if you experience symptoms, my strongest advise is to seek a professional opinion. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a TMJ evaluation, please feel free to contact us

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