What Causes TMJ?

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“Oh, I have TMJ. I can’t open my mouth very wide.” Does this sound familiar?

“TMJ” (temporomandibular joint) is a joint just like any other in the body. When there’s an actual disorder associated with the joint, we usually refer to it as TMJD or TMD (temporomandibular disorder.) Fortunately, there are a few ways you can limit how TMJ impacts your everyday life. It all boils down to identifying the causes behind it. Here are a few of the most common causes of TMJ:




1. Crooked Teeth Can Cause TMJ

Misaligned teeth don’t function efficiently. As a result, your jaw has to make atypical movements to bite and chew your food effectively. The strain can add up!

2. Stress Can Cause TMJ

It’s fairly common for people to clench their teeth when stressed out from work, school, or just life. You could be doing it on your commute home or even during the night. The first sign to watch for is soreness right when you wake up or headaches when you drive.

3. Sleep Apnea Can Cause TMJ

When your brain is struggling for oxygen due to a sleeping disorder, it can cause muscle tension through your jaws and teeth. Have us check for signs of wear or consider getting a take-home sleep study.

4. Excessive Use Can Cause TMJ

Do you find yourself chewing gum all day long, or forcing your way through firmer foods like steak? Back it off a bit. Put the gum away and stick to softer foods for a while and see if TMJ symptoms improve.


If you don’t find your TMJ symptoms subsiding, be sure to come to Blue Bird Dentistry in Fredericksburg, VA. We may have to recommend a split to wear when you sleep, refer you to an orthodontist, or advise a specific type of medication for short-term relief. An x-ray and exam are one of the best places to start when it comes to seeing what’s going on inside your TMJ. Schedule one today!