Most of us are familiar with the experiences of not correctly talking, chewing, or yawning when we have a toothache. However, many people experience similar problems without any signs of an injury or infection in their mouth. This unknown factor can lead them to visit several professionals for help, including physiotherapists, osteopaths, ear, nose, and throat specialists, dentists, and doctors. Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a term that describes a collection of symptoms that problems with the temporomandibular joint may cause. The problem could be caused by injury, genetics, or something as simple as arthritis from grinding your teeth at night. In this article, we look at the different causes of TMD. If you have the condition, make sure you visit a Commack TMJ/TMD specialist for prompt treatment.
Some patients have a history of TMD in their family, which is thought to be genetic. Where genetics are suspected, these patients may have received treatment from a dentist or doctor earlier in life. In contrast, others will only find out about this diagnosis when they visit a Commack specialist for another unrelated condition.
Thumb sucking in childhood affects the teeth’ position and causes long-term damage. It is more common in patients who have a narrow dental arch, leading to sleep apnea later on in life. Patients who had thumb sucking as children often report problems with their jaw and pain when eating. They may also find that they clench their jaw during the day, leading to TMD symptoms later on in life.
Patients that grind or clench their teeth at night are at risk of TMD. This condition is known as bruxism and can cause the joints in the patient’s jaw to become painful and swollen. Symptoms can also include headaches, and it may be difficult for patients to speak clearly when they wake up in the morning. If you find yourself grinding or clenching your jaw during the night, make sure you visit a TMJ/TMD doctor for treatment.
Many different types of arthritis can cause TMD. The most common form is excessive teeth grinding at night. It often comes about due to stress, and there may be a family history of the condition. Rheumatoid arthritis is a more severe condition that causes swelling in the joints and can lead to falls or deformity over time.
Injury or Trauma
Those with injury or trauma to their face from a motor vehicle accident, sports accident, or assault are also at risk. The pain can lead patients to clench their jaw repeatedly, which will cause the muscles in the patient’s jaw to become tender and swollen. Patients may also experience earaches, headaches, or neck aches.
In summary, TMJ is a group of symptoms caused by problems affecting the temporomandibular joint. Most people develop TMJ due to injury or trauma, genetic predisposition, and arthritis. However, you can also develop the condition due to thumb sucking during childhood and bruxism. Regardless of the cause, it would help to see a TMD specialist for early treatment to prevent further complications.