Causes of TMJ

Temporomandibular Joint disorders are usually caused by injury to the ligaments in the TMJ.  This injury to ligaments is usually from acute macrotrauma. Trauma can be a blow to the jaw or an abrupt opening of the mouth. An abrupt opening of the mouth may cause stretching of the TMJ ligaments and may occur during emergency intubation for general anesthesia or during a motor vehicle whiplash injury.

There is no research which shows that grinding teeth (bruxism) at night or in the daytime causes TMJ disorders. Therefore, we cannot say that grinding teeth causes TMJ disorders. Grinding your teeth may cause a TMJ disorder to be more painful due to loading of the TMJ apparatus.  Grinding your teeth may cause slight, moderate or severe damage to your teeth.

There is no research that shows that stress causes TMJ disorders. Therefore, we cannot say that stress causes TMJ disorders. Stress may cause a TMJ disorder to be more painful.

There is no credible research that shows that a bad bite or malocclusion causes TMJ disorders. Therefore, we cannot say that a bad bite or malocclusion causes TMJ disorders.  A bad bite or malocclusion can cause a TMJ disorder to be more painful.

There is research which shows that orthodontic treatment does not cause TMJ disorders. This research also shows that orthodontic treatment done with extraction of teeth does not cause TMJ disorders. Orthodontic treatment alone does not usually help a TMJ disorder either.

There is research which shows that routine extraction of teeth does not cause TMJ disorders.

There is research which shows that extraction of wisdom teeth (third molars) when all four are extracted at one appointment may cause TMJ disorders.


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