Potential Causes of TMJ Pain

Potential Causes of TMJ Pain

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint at which your upper and lower jaw meet. This joint allows you to move your lower jaw from side to side, open and close your mouth, eat and speak.

When there is an issue with this joint, a condition known as temporomandibular disorder TMD, these abilities become affected.


There are multiple symptoms of TMD:

  • Jaw pain.
  • Difficulty opening the mouth.
  • Pain while chewing.
  • Facial pain.
  • Earaches.
  • Clicking and popping of the jaw while eating or speaking.
  • Your jaw may lock open.


A fall or accident, or any other incident that results in facial trauma can result in TMJ pain. The jaw may get broken or become dislocated, and the cartilage of the joint can get damaged.


If you grind and/or clench your teeth, you suffer from bruxism. This often occurs at night, when you have no control over the situation. Bruxism has a variety of causes, including stress and anxiety, malocclusion (misaligned teeth), certain medications, and some lifestyle habits such as drinking and smoking. Grinding and clenching places a significant amount of stress on your teeth and your jaw bone, as you tense the joint. This can lead to inflammation, and therefore TMJ pain.


There are two types of arthritis that can affect the TMJ. The first is osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis is often the cause of aging. As you get older, your joints naturally begin to break down. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disorder that causes the slow loss of cartilage, which is replaced by bone.

The other type of arthritis that can affect the TMJ is rheumatoid arthritis. This autoimmune disease is a condition which causes the inflammation of joints, including the TMJ. It can lead to joint destruction, ruining cartilage, destroying bone and eventually result in deformities in the joint.

If you are experiencing pain with your temporomandibular joint, contact our office. He or she can help you pinpoint the cause and therefore find a solution that can provide you with the relief you need.

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