If you’ve heard anything about a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, you likely know it involves your jaw and it involves a lot of pain. It’s actually a bit more complex than that, as there are a wide variety of common TMJ problems. And while the disorder can develop naturally over time, did you know the vast majority of TMJ disorders are caused by trauma?
There are two basic forms of trauma that contribute to TMJ disorders: minor trauma that happens repeatedly over time and major trauma that is usually the result of an accident or injury. If you’re aware of these types of trauma that can cause TMJ, you can seek treatment earlier or even avoid it altogether.
Minor Trauma Causes of TMJ
TMJ disorders can develop by themselves due to certain habits or natural degeneration. Here are some examples of minor trauma that may contribute to TMJ disorders:
• Habitually clenching or grinding your teeth
• Participating in contact sports such as football, basketball or hockey
• Developing a form of arthritis
• Tension due to stress
Many of these forms of minor trauma involve a lot of tightening and clenching of the muscles, which leads to fatigue and overworking them. All increase the possibility of TMJ disc erosion or dislocation, which leads to a TMJ disorder.
Major Trauma Causes of TMJ
Major trauma is the more unexpected cause of TMJ disorders and isn’t as preventable. But recognizing it can help you seek treatment as early as possible. Here are some examples of major trauma that may contribute to TMJ disorders:
• Sports injuries, such as a tackle to the head in football or an elbow to the face in basketball
• Automobile accidents, specifically ones that involve an impact to the head
• Some roller coasters or other activities with sudden changes in speed that cause whiplash
• Anything else involving a strong blow to the head
There is likely more than one factor involved in developing a TMJ disorder, so your risk may be higher if you’ve experienced multiple forms of minor or major trauma.
If you’d like suggestions on how to avoid TMJ disorder causes – or if you think you might have already developed it and would like treatment – schedule a consultation with Lebowitz Dental today.