Causes of TMJ
— Dr. Perkins in Malibu, CA Temporomandibular joint disorders affect the jaw joint and chewing muscles that can cause discomfort or pain in the jaw, internal derangement, or even arthritis. Sometimes physical trauma, tooth positioning, genetic jaw growth patterns, or even arthritis can trigger the disorder to develop, and can lead to various health issues throughout the body. Some of these symptoms can range from chronic lethargy, disturbing sleeping patterns, or a painful muscle and soft tissue condition; these are common symptoms for a patient that experiences TMJ.
Just as a blow to the leg can cause damage to the physical construction and performance of that area, the jaw works in the same way. Any physical contact or impact against the jaw muscles can seriously damage the structure and functionality significantly of the ligaments and tendons within it. A common example of an incident in which the jaw can be tangibly altered is a car accident; patients can suffer from direct impact of another vehicle or experience painful damage as a result of an airbag deploying in their face.
Depending on the capacity of the force during the direct blow, the patient can potentially break or severely damage their jaw. The result of this encounter can be and most likely will be extremely painful for the patient until the muscles are able to heal. The reason that the patient feels actual, physical pain is due to the imbalance between the unnatural bite and the jaw position, as well as painful spasms in the jaw and the neck.
Some patients, unfortunately, develop rheumatic disease or arthritis, which affects their joints, muscles and bones with an inflammatory disorder that can be quite painful. When patients already are prone to joint pain, their chances of developing TMJ are much higher and can make the pain worse. This disease and disorder have an interesting relationship in which either can cause the either to occur; proneness to joint pain can cause TMJ easily, as developing TMJ can lead to issues with arthritis.
Just as an awkward bite can wear down the teeth, it can also have an effect on the jaw. When teeth are either too big or too small to fit in the mouth, it can create unnecessary stress and pressure on the teeth, which forces the jaw to compensate to chew and swallow the food. The jaw is not the only part that needs to work harder though, the neck and even the actual head can become overly stressed due to this taxing process while dining; this is when the pain may present itself. Patients do not want this type of constant tension to be placed upon these joints and muscles as it is not healthy for the patient overall.
All In The Family
Another interesting factor that can cause this disorder is genetics. Just as we develop and receive certain physical traits from our parents, we can also acquire the same bone structure, misaligned jaw, or even our ability to breathe nasally. Through the altering positions of the tongue as the patient breathes, the jaw formation and development alters; if the tongue brushes against the floor of the mouth too often, it can lead to jaw functionality and structural errors which can cause TMJ. Allergy and congestion can be taken from parental traits as well, which can complicate the patient’s breathing capacity; which also affects the potential for jaw growth.
Someone that experiences TMJ may also suffer from neck issues due to the fact that the jaw muscles directly influence them and vice versa. Considering that these muscles are all within a close vicinity of each other, it makes sense that a patient has the potential to suffer from pain in all of these areas together. The physical tension and clenching of the jaw can easily affect the positioning of the head, which will bring the neck into an uncomfortable angle. When muscles such as these are affected negatively, treatment and therapy and sometimes surgery are necessary to the reconstruction of the important muscles, ligaments, and tendons; Dr. Perkins can easily help patients with.