Causes of TMJ Disorders

Understanding the causes of TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorders is crucial for effective diagnosis and treatment. TMJ disorders often result from multiple factors, each contributing to the overall condition in different ways. Here’s a comprehensive look at the various causes of TMJ disorders:

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Jaw Injuries

Trauma or injury to the jaw, such as those sustained from an impact, accident, or fall, can lead to TMJ disorders. These injuries can damage the temporomandibular joint, causing immediate or long-term pain and dysfunction. The joint may become misaligned, or the surrounding muscles and ligaments may be strained or torn, leading to inflammation and discomfort.


Arthritis is another significant cause of TMJ disorders. Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can affect the temporomandibular joint. Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, can wear down the cartilage in the TMJ over time, leading to pain and limited movement. Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition, causes inflammation in the joint lining, which can result in severe pain, swelling, and damage to the TMJ.

Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

Bruxism, or chronic teeth grinding, is a common contributor to TMJ disorders. Many individuals grind or clench their teeth unconsciously, especially during sleep. This constant pressure and movement can place excessive stress on the temporomandibular joint, leading to wear and tear, muscle fatigue, and pain. Over time, bruxism can significantly damage the joint and surrounding tissues.

Misaligned Teeth or Jaw

Misalignment of the teeth or jaw, also known as malocclusion, can create stress on the temporomandibular joint. When the teeth do not fit together properly, it can force the jaw to move in unnatural ways to achieve a bite. This misalignment can strain the TMJ and the muscles responsible for jaw movement, leading to pain and dysfunction.

Emotional Stress

Emotional stress is a less obvious but equally important factor contributing to TMJ disorders. Stress can cause individuals to clench their jaw or grind their teeth, exacerbating TMJ symptoms. Additionally, stress can lead to muscle tension in the jaw, neck, and shoulders, which can further aggravate the temporomandibular joint. Managing stress through relaxation techniques and lifestyle changes can help reduce the impact of stress on the TMJ.

Addressing the Causes at Thrive Dental & Orthodontics

At Thrive Dental & Orthodontics, we recognize that understanding the underlying causes of TMJ disorders is essential for effective treatment. Our comprehensive approach includes a thorough evaluation of your medical and dental history, detailed physical examinations, and advanced diagnostic imaging to identify the specific factors contributing to your condition.

By addressing the root causes, we can develop personalized treatment plans that may include medication, physical therapy, oral appliances, corrective dental procedures, and stress management techniques. Our goal is to alleviate your symptoms, improve your jaw function, and enhance your overall quality of life.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorders, contact Thrive Dental & Orthodontics today to schedule a consultation. Our experienced team is dedicated to providing expert care and effective solutions tailored to your unique needs. Visit us at one of our convenient locations in Dixon, Elk Grove, Yuba City, Stockton, or Santa Clara and take the first step towards a pain-free life.

Don’t let TMJ pain control your life. Schedule an appointment with Thrive Dental & Orthodontics today for expert diagnosis and personalized treatment. Our skilled team is ready to help you find relief and restore your jaw function. Visit us at one of our convenient locations in Dixon, Elk Grove, Yuba City, Stockton, or Santa Clara.

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