Common Causes of TMJ Disorder 

Video: TMJ Causes


TMJ disorder is commonly caused by a misaligned bite or misaligned jaw, but there are many other factors that may also contribute to its emergence. At Dr. Ettienne Van Zyl's Collierville practice, he will help patients determine the cause of their TMJ and come up with an effective treatment plan. Many patients have been able to alleviate their TMJ symptoms and restore the balance of their mouth while under the gentle care of Dr. Van Zyl.

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Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, commonly referred to as TMJ disorder or TMD, is characterized by pain and discomfort in the jaw joints and surrounding muscles. As anyone who suffers from this common condition knows, TMJ pain can range from nagging to debilitating. However, with treatment, patients suffering from TMJ disorder can find relief and resume their daily activities in comfort. The most crucial aspect to planning effective TMJ disorder treatment is discovering its origin. Dr. Ettienne van Zyl has years of experience diagnosing and treating the common condition, and possesses an extremely thorough understanding of the various causes of TMJ disorder. Visit our Memphis dental practice to undergo an evaluation, and learn more about how our individually-tailored treatment plans can help you find relief. Contact us today to schedule a consultation

Understanding TMJ Disorder

Smiling father piggybacking young daughter on beachThe lower jaw, or mandible, is one of the few bilateral bones in the body that connects on both sides, left and right, meaning there is no physical bony connection between the jaw and the temporal bone of the skull. Two joints, the TMJs, allow movement of the mandible. The position of the mandible in the joints depends in part on how the upper and lower teeth fit together when the mouth is closed – a relationship called occlusion. Malocclusion, when the jaw is improperly aligned, can contribute to the development of TMJ disorder. Heredity, injury, and stress also cause the condition.

The trigeminal nerve provides sensation to facial and chewing muscles, and it also mediates and controls pain distribution throughout the head and neck. Problems in the TMJs can affect the trigeminal nerve and result in pain in the jaws, mouth, head, neck, shoulders, extremities, back, and ears.

Common Causes 

Many factors can contribute to TMJ disorder, which is one reason it affects so many people. In fact, some studies estimate that over 10 million Americans suffer with TMJ pain. Some of the most common factors contributing to TMJ disorder include:

  • Overbite, underbite, or crossbite
  • Misaligned or overcrowded teeth
  • Misaligned jaw
  • Teeth clenching or grinding (bruxism)
  • Gaps between teeth or missing teeth, particularly the molars
  • Poor posture
  • Arthritis
  • Improper tongue position
  • Yawning or other jaw stress
  • Tooth or restoration fractures
  • Injury or head trauma

To accurately pinpoint the cause of your TMJ disorder, Dr. van Zyl will perform diagnostic exams. During an evaluation, he will use advanced technology, including a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit and the K7 evaluation system, to assess muscle activity in the temples, cheeks, chin, and along the neck.

Learn More by Scheduling an Evaluation

Trained at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI), Dr. van Zyl uses his wealth of knowledge to help individuals in need of TMJ disorder treatment. Years of experience allow him to identify and analyze the causes of TMJ disorder, and create a treatment plan uniquely suited to each patient’s case. To learn more about the cause of your TMJ disorder symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. van Zyl today.

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