Causes of TMJ
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Probably the most common question is just what
Causes of TMJ are many and varied and actually
fairly self-evident -- at least to trained dentists!
While there are always unique cases, the most
common causes of TMJ-related health problems are teeth grinding,
nutritional factors, bad bite patterns, stress (don't underestimate
this as a causal factor), life trauma, and TMJ braces or recent
Let's take each of these one by one.
Tooth Grinding is the most common or main symptom of a
TMJ-related problem.. But hold on a moment...What causes Tooth
A number of problems contribute to it: parasites, stress,
Most people eat so poorly one could write a whole book on the
subject. Not surprisingly, nutrition is a key co-factor as
well to the panoply of causes of TMJ. Nutritional
factors such as eating or drinking too much caffeine,
alcohol, fats, processed foods, sugar, sweets, etc. can help
be contributing factors to TMJ as with many other health
Any one of the Headache trigger foods identified by the National
Headache Foundation can cause TMJ as well. Soy, for one, is a prime
allergic food for many people and \this can be a big one. It
bears mentioning due to its growing popularity.
You don't have to be a vampire with a bad bite. Bad bites are
one of the common causes of TMJ jaw pain. I probably make
recommendations to correct my patients' bite about 20-25 percent of
the time. Truly, this causes of TMJ page would not be
complete without mentioning this.
Stress is the number one cause of TMJ Symptoms. That stress
causes tension in the head & jaw muscles and clenching. Indeed,
stress can be a huge contributing factor so don't minimize its
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Other physical trauma can cause TMJ. Car accidents where one
experiencing a whiplash-like accident or event is a contributer to
TMJ symptoms and may even give it a jolt to where it is a
full-blown problem. If you have even the slightest suspicion that
your potential TMJ symptoms are due to such an accident, see your
dentist or at least your doctor.
I have to be honest in saying that while it may be sad to say,
many dental patients with TMJ-like problems or symptoms were caused
by wrongful dental care administered by a dentist.
Unless one accidentally dropped a
weight on themselves or fell awkwardly or something of that
nature, most of the time exercise is not the fault with the
development of TMJ-like symptoms. In actuality, it is due to a
pronounced lack of exercise that can
bring on TMJ problems.
Other Medical Issues
In truth, the most common medical problem that can cause TMJ
related pain is neck and back problems (for clarity, referential
pain due to TMJ issues can also exist in the upper back and neck
areas as well). Also, shoulder problems can contribute to it as
I hope this causes of TMJ webpage has been
helpful for you.
Yours in health,
David Spainhower, D.D.S.