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Causes of TMJ Dysfunction and Risk Factors

TMJ causes and risk factors

Causes of TMJ Dysfunction and Risk Factors 

Characterized by chronic pain and an overall debilitating experience, Temporomandibular Joint dysfunction (TMJ) or better yet, known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD) can cause a lot of restlessness and lethargy. All of a sudden you can no longer enjoy your day to day, having to worry about what to eat, repeated aching and discomfort. 

TMJ pain is so prevalent in our society that more than 10 million people suffer from this unpleasant condition. In this blog post we are covering all the bases, leaving no stones unturned and ensuring you learn what puts you at risk and how to better manage this condition to improving your body and mindset.


Symptoms of TMJ dysfunction  


Do I have TMJ? This will probably be the first question that comes to mind when you are experiencing a bit of jaw pain and discomfort. The most established symptom of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction is myofascial pain. This is characterized by fatigue, spasms, and tension of the masticatory muscles. 

Other prevalent symptoms associated with TMJ include but not limited to pain and tenderness in the facial and neck muscles. Problems with opening your mouth might also arise accompanied by sounds of clicking, popping and grating.

Other than the obvious signs of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, additional symptoms may act as key indicators of TMJ when combined with the above symptoms. These tend to be the most painful and yet indirect effects of TMJ. You should therefore watch out for;

  • Swelling on one side of the face 
  • Toothaches 
  • Trouble chewing and opening your mouth 
  • Ringing in ears and hearing problems 
  • Dizziness 
  • Neckaches and upper shoulder pain
  • Aching facial muscles and tired facial muscles 

All these symptoms can be indicators of other ailments as well, therefore further consultation with a physician or a dentist might be necessary. However, depending on your daily habits you can self-diagnose at home before a consultation.


Self-Diagnosis of Temporomandibular Joint dysfunction 

Recurring symptoms of jaw pain could be TMJ or a variety of other things. Having a conclusive diagnosis of the same might be useful in knowing the way forward. For one reason or the other you may not be able to make that doctors appointment.

A self-diagnosis of TMJ can be pretty simple. First, check for pain and tenderness in your facial and neck muscles. Observe for pops, clicks and grating sound when moving your mouth or chewing. You can also take note of any muscle spasms at the temporomandibular joint area. A further examination with a doctor may be necessary in the case of all symptom’s manifestation 

Causes of TMJ Pain 

Our day-to-day behaviors play a significant role in TMJ pain manifestation. While things as posture are significant. Factors such as;

  • Repeated chewing of gum and hard candy for extended periods of time.
  • Bruxism – which is the long-term grinding and clenching of teeth 
  • Movement of the disc between the ball and socket joint 

Are the major players in TMJ dysfunction. However, these factors are exacerbated by underlying conditions and risk factors 

TMJ Risk Factors 

Gender plays a monumental role in TMJ pain presentation. Women are 3 times more likely to develop TMJ dysfunction than their male counterparts. Whether this is due to women being exposed to more stress levels than men is up for debate. With that in mind extra caution and care should be taken by women to maintain a healthier body and mind.

Age is also key in TMJ pain profession. Individuals above 18 years have a significantly increased chance of developing temporomandibular joint dysfunction and the risk becomes even more prevalent between the ages 30 – 50. 

Arthritis ranks high in the exemplification of TMJ. Individuals suffering from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia have a notable increase in TMJ symptoms. Extra caution and tender loving care needs to be done by them to avoid TMJ pain.

Stress and anxiety might increase the chances of teeth clenching and grinding while at the same time frowning can put a strain on the facial muscles resulting in the manifestation of TMJ symptoms.

Other factors such as;

  • Genetics 
  • Jaw and facial deformities or injuries 
  • I’ll fitting denture or teeth not being inline 
  • Macro traumas 

Might play a colossal role in aggravation of temporomandibular joint dysfunctions and jaw pain. Proper care and managing of these symptoms however is easy and can be done from anywhere. 

Be sure to check out my next blog on how to better manage TMJ pain and what to stop doing immediately to better your life with TMJ. 


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