What Causes Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

Temporomandibular joint specialist in Marietta
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Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are the cause of much discomfort, jaw tenderness and chewing difficulty for many Marietta patients. With the right TMJ disorder treatment, this pain can often be relieved quickly – and without the need for surgery. But what exactly causes the condition, and how can a temporomandibular joint specialist near me treat this issue?

What Are the Main Causes of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

The precise cause of TMJ disorder can be difficult to determine. There are many possible symptoms of the condition, and its causes can range from physical injuries and dental issues to genetic and hormonal factors. Thankfully, with the help of your dentist, these symptoms can be relieved by using several targeted treatment options.

Teeth and Jaw Misalignment

Alignment issues with the teeth and jaw (overbite, underbite, crossbite, open bite and crowding) can put unnecessary strain on your bite. The muscles in your jaw and the temporomandibular joint will often start to ache due to excessive strain from eating, chewing and speaking.

Physical Injury

An accident, sports injury or heavy blow to the face can cause the temporomandibular joint to become inflamed. Patients may then experience jaw locking, stiffness in the lower half of the face and pain when chewing.

Lost Teeth

Losing teeth gradually leads to poor alignment between the teeth and jaw. Thankfully, there are many ways a dentist can fix teeth that have been lost or removed. However, once TMJ starts developing, replacing a lost tooth won’t fix it.


Grinding or clenching your teeth, called bruxism, puts a strain on the temporomandibular joint and muscles around the jaw. In many cases, teeth grinding occurs during sleep and people are unaware it is happening. Your dentist can provide solutions for the long-term health of your teeth and jaw, which can help with TMJ.

Disk Erosion

A slipped disk caused by the displacement of the temporomandibular joint is usually identified by a clicking sound. Treatments for this issue are usually easier in the early stages of the condition.


Like many other joints in the body, the temporomandibular joint is at risk of arthritis as a person ages. The condition usually causes TMJ disorder in people age 50 and over, and can be soothed using relaxation techniques, rest and ice, or heat therapy.

Professional Treatments for TMJ Disorder

After diagnosing the cause of the issue, a TMJ specialist can provide targeted treatment. Self-care and medication are often appropriate for a mild case of TMJ disorder. If tooth loss or alignment issues are at fault, dental crowns and bridges, braces and specialized oral appliances (like night guards) may be used. In the most severe cases, TMJ surgery may be recommended, but for the majority of patients this won’t be necessary.

Contact a Temporomandibular Joint Specialist Near Me

Shining Smiles Family Dentistry helps patients with TMJ disorder and a range of other dental treatments. Contact a temporomandibular joint specialist for a diagnosis and treatment. Call (770) 420-8550 or request an appointment now.

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