Causes of TMJ Disorder symptomsThere are many different types of TMJ disorder, any one of which may be related to a number of causes. The most common TMJ problems occur when the temporomandibular joint itself or the surrounding muscles are put under intense or continuous stress. Causes of TMJ can be either mental or physical.
The following are some of the causes of TMJ disorders:• Malocclusion and bruxism are the most common causes of TMJ disorders.
Malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth or bite problem), when the teeth in the upper and lower jaw are not lined up correctly. Malocclusion can result in uneven pressure to each side of the jaw, that puts the muscles and TMJ under stress. For the same reason, chewing on only one side of the jaw can lead to TMJ problems. Modification of the occlusal surfaces of the teeth during dental treatments (if not done properly) may also result in malocclusion problems and cause symptoms of TMJD.
Bruxism (teeth grinding and teeth clenching). Moving the teeth over each other (teeth grinding) not only wears down the teeth and might cause malocclusion, but also increases the wear on the cartilage lining of the TMJ. Teeth clenching, when the upper and lower teeth are pressed together putting stress on the facial muscles, tissues and jaw, is a common cause of TMJ syndrome.
Emotional stress is often the underlying cause of a TMJ disorder, as it can contribute to people either consciously or unconsciously tightening facial and jaw muscles and grinding or clenching their teeth (bruxism).
Habits like excessive gum chewing or fingernail biting cause jaw muscles overuse.
External injuries to the temporomandibular joint, jaws, teeth, facial bones or muscles are also causes of TMJ disorders.
Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ
Occupational tasks such as holding the telephone between the head and shoulder.
Excessive jaw movements like over-opening the jaw beyond its normal range.
TMJ SymptomsThe most common symptom of TMJ disorder is pain. TMJ symptoms include :
Facial pain in the jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and/or close to the ear when chewing, speaking or opening the mouth wide.
Limited ability to open the mouth very wide
Jaw that ‘locks’ in the open or closed mouth position
Clicking, or popping sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth (which may or may not be accompanied by pain)
Difficulty or irregular jaw movement while opening and closing the mouth
Difficulty in chewing . Teeth give the feeling that they are not fitting together properly
Jaw pain or toothache when waking up after sleep.
Other symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction include:
TMJ Headaches, that become worse while opening and closing the mouth, are present in most of the Temperomandibular Joint Disorder patients.
Ear pain in front of or below the ear, but without any signs of infection (hearing loss or ear drainage). Hearing problems like fullness and noise or ringing in the ear (tinnitus) may also be symptoms of tmj disorders.
Light sensitivity, hazy visions, pain in and around the eyeballs, a pressurized kind of feeling behind the eyeballs
Unusual TMJ SymptomsYou may also experience some of the unusual symptoms of TMJ :
Swelling on the side of the face, in jaw and cheek.
Other unusual tmj symptoms include toothaches, neckaches, pain in the shoulder and dizziness.
TMJ DiagnosisBecause many other conditions can cause similar symptoms with TMJ, the dentist or physician must take the patient history and perform a careful clinical examination to determine the cause of the symptoms by: