7 Causes of TMJ

TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is a jaw problem that affects many people. Your temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the rest of your skull. There are many muscles in this area that make this joint one of the strongest and most used in the human body. We use this joint to chew, talk, smile, and make many facial expressions.

In some cases, this joint can become inflamed, painful, or stop working properly. This is called TMJ disorder, or TMJ for short. There are a variety of factors that can cause this. The disc that cushions the joint can become inflamed or worn out. The jaw may be misaligned, causing it to click or even lock up. Muscles may spasm or become strained.

Regardless of the causes, the result is a great deal of pain when performing normal activities such as eating and talking. In extreme cases, people may be unable to use the joint at all. People also may suffer headaches, dental damage, and other painful effects from this disorder.

Understanding the cause of your temporomandibular joint disorder is important to getting the right treatment for it and preventing it from occurring once again.

1. Physical Injury

Physical injury can cause acute TMJ, which is sharp and severe pain and disability that lasts a short time. This usually resolves in a few weeks or months. In addition, injury can cause chronic TMJ if the jaw does not heal properly.

There are many kinds of physical injury that can cause this disorder. For example, a broken or dislocated jaw can cause inflammation and pain at this joint. Damage or strain to the muscles in the area can cause dysfunction as well. In addition, indirect injuries such as whiplash can cause injury to the temporomandibular joint.

Many people do not realize that they have injured their jaw badly enough to need medical care. They try to treat the pain at home. In these cases, the area may heal incorrectly and cause long term pain and dysfunction.

It is important to see a doctor immediately for any suspected injury to this joint and the surrounding area. Simple measures such as a sling, rest, or physical therapy may be able to prevent a lifetime of pain and difficulty.

If a physical injury is causing pain to this area beyond several months, there may be a chronic problem. The area may not have healed properly. In many cases, this can be treated to prevent a lifetime of pain.