Common causes of TMJ
Long-term strain on the TMJ’s (temporomandibular joints) caused by a sleep pattern of chronic grinding and/or clenching of the teeth (bruxism). This may lead to permanent damage to the teeth and TMJ’s themselves.
Certain types of malocclusion (bad bites) can chronically over-stress the TMJs and related structures every time the individual chews. This in turn can lead to temporomandibular joint damage.
Accidents involving direct or indirect trauma to the head, face, and / or neck may lead to partial or total TMJ disc dislocation, stretched or torn TMJ ligaments, and impaired joint function.
Extensive dental procedures which have over stressed the muscles, joints, ligaments, nerves, may also lead to TMJ ligament inflammation or damage. This in turn could lead to muscle spasms and / or TMJ disc dislocation.
General anesthesia intubations which strain weak TM joints or damage healthy TM joints by overextending the joint while the patient is asleep.
Arthritis of the TMJ’s particularly in patients with TM disc dislocations.
Systemic diseases such as gout, lupus, scleroderma, and fibromyalgia may also contribute to TMJ – like symptoms or problems.
Growth and / or developmental disturbances of the structures of the face and TM joints may cause malformation of the TM joint structures and thus dysfunction.
Some other reasons for TMD are less identifiable and may result from a combination of small events such as lying against a partially strained or damaged (but previously asymptomatic) TMJ while sleeping. Other reasons include irritability of facial muscles due to an inadequate diet, muscle tension due to caffeine, nicotine, and sugar. Lastly, studies have also shown a link between stress and the frequency of teeth grinding at night. This chronic and prolonged nightly activity ultimately damages the TM joints or impairs the body’s ability to heal a damaged joint.