- Stress, which can cause tightening of the facial and jaw muscles, leading to Bruxism (see above) which can injure the TMJ
- Discrepant movement of the soft tissues within the ball and socket of the TMJ
- Arthritis in the joint.
TMD will often cause acute pain and discomfort. It can be short lived, or long term. It can affect one or both joints. Women tend to get it more than men, and it’s most common among patients between the ages of 20-50.
Common symptoms include:
- Pain upon trying to open wide
- Pain or tenderness in the jaw joint area, and even in the neck and shoulders, and in the ear area when you speak, chew, or try to open your mouth
- Getting “lock jaw,” that is, your jaw suddenly locking up when you open wide
- Crepitus, which means clicking, popping sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close. Note that Crepitus may be associated with or without pain. In the absence of any negative symptoms, crepitus in and of itself is not necessarily problematic.
- Dull facial pain
- Trouble chewing or feeling as if your bite is “off,” i.e. the upper and lower teeth are not coming together properly.
- Tooth aches, neck pain, migraines, earaches, upper shoulder pain, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).