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Temporal Mandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders are a complex set of conditions that can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement. If you are struggling with TMJ issues, you’re not alone. Millions of people worldwide experience this discomfort, but the root causes and treatments may vary widely. Let’s delve into the hidden reasons that are causing your TMJ issues and how to effectively address them.

Anatomy of TMJ

First, let’s understand what the TMJ is. This remarkable joint connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, which sit in front of each ear. This joint allows you to move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can speak, chew and yawn with ease. As you may already be aware, these problems with your TMJ can leave you with varying degrees of pain and discomfort.

Factors Leading to TMJ Disorders

  • Physical Stress: Physical stress to your jaw or TMJ itself can lead to a disorder. This might include a direct injury to the jaw or habitual behaviors that put undue stress on the joint, such as teeth grinding (bruxism) or clenching, typically related to stress or anxiety.
  • Arthritis: Just like other joints in your body, the TMJ can be affected by arthritis. Osteoarthritis can cause the cartilage in the TMJ to wear away, while rheumatoid arthritis can lead to inflammation and joint damage.
  • Disk Erosion or Misalignment: The TMJ has a soft disk within that acts as a cushion and enables smooth movement. Over time, this disk can erode or move out of its correct alignment, leaving pain and dysfunction in its wake.
  • Poor Posture: Chronic poor posture, particularly in the neck and upper back, can lead to muscle strain and misalignment of your jaw.
  • Dental Procedures: Long dental procedures that require keeping your mouth open for extended periods can strain the TMJ. Similarly, misalignment of the teeth or jaw due to orthodontic procedures can also contribute to TMJ issues.

TMJ Solutions and Management

While the causes of TMJ disorders vary, there are several strategies to manage your discomfort:

  • Stress Management: Since stress can lead to teeth clenching and grinding, finding ways to reduce your stress levels can alleviate TMJ symptoms. Try holistic techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and yoga for pain relief.
  • Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can provide exercises to strengthen and stretch your muscles, improving mobility and reducing pain.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories can also help manage your pain. In some cases, stronger prescription medications may be recommended.
  • Dental Solutions: If your TMJ disorder is related to dental issues, an oral appliance designed to prevent teeth grinding or braces to correct alignment issues, can provide much-needed pain relief.
  • Surgery: In severe cases where other treatments have not been effective, surgical options may be considered. However, surgery is typically the last resort.

Call Today

Understanding the potential causes of your TMJ disorder is the first step toward finding relief for your symptoms. By addressing the underlying issues, whether they’re related to stress, physical alignment or dental health, you can begin to alleviate the discomfort and improve your quality of life. Our TMJ specialist and team understand that each person’s situation is unique and we are here to help. We invite you to us today to learn more or schedule a consultation that can boost your quality of life!