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TMJ & TMD Causes

Temporomandibular joints (TMJs) are the large jaw joints that operate the mouth and jaw. Like most joints in the body, TMJs are connected to tendons, muscles and ligaments, which can be affected by dysfunction in the joint. TMJ disorders can cause jaw and face pain, jaw dysfunction, headaches and many other symptoms. At Southern California TMJ and Sleep Center, our TMJ specialist, Dr. Bob Perkins, offers treatment by addressing TMJ and TMD causes at our facility in San Diego, CA.

TMJ symptoms are caused by stress on the jaw joint and surrounding tissues. The most common trait of patients with TMD is jaw misalignment, specifically, a recessed lower jaw or overbite. When the lower jaw is recessed, it puts constant stress on the jaw muscles. They are forced out of their natural position, which causes them to contract and tighten constantly. The recessed lower jaw also can constrict the airway/throat and put pressure around the ears, which can result in many of the associated symptoms of TMD.

TMD Syndrome Causes

While the recession of the lower jaw is a prominent cause of TMD, there are also many other contributing factors. Overall misalignment of the bite can put stress on the jaw joints, whether it is an overbite, underbite, crossbite or other orthodontic conditions. There are also lifestyle, behavioral and environmental issues that can contribute to TMD. Some possible causes of TMJ include:

  • Injuries to the jaw
  • Thumb sucking
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding, jaw clenching)
  • Excessive gum chewing
  • Mouth breathing
  • Tongue thrusting or tongue ties

Females are more likely to experience TMJ, but anyone can experience TMD syndrome. The causes of jaw disorders often begin in childhood, but the symptoms may not be felt until adulthood. While the main cause of a recessed lower jaw may be due to genetics, it is often the developmental factors that contribute to the extent of a TMJ disorder.

Regardless of the cause of TMD syndrome, there are effective options for treatment. If you have TMJ and want relief from your symptoms, come see us at Southern California TMJ and Sleep Center. Contact our facility in San Diego, CA, to schedule a TMJ consultation.