5 Causes of TMJ Disorders

Our specialty team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates of Nevada includes Harvard trained surgeons who provide state-of-the-art treatment for various conditions affecting the face and jaw, including temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

As part of our commitment to offering patient-focused care to residents throughout Summerlin, East Side, Las Vegas, and our surrounding communities, we’re happy to provide information about five common causes of TMJ disorders and what treatments are available to relieve your discomfort.

Causes of TMJ disorders

TMJ disorders are linked to issues that affect your jaw’s ability to open and close normally. Sometimes the condition is related to habits, such as forcefully clenching your jaw frequently or grinding your teeth at night.

Five common medical causes of TMJ are:


Often related to wear and tear associated with aging, osteoarthritis (OA) causes degeneration of the cartilage that covers and cushions the bones that meet to form the temporomandibular joints. These are the hinge-like joints, one on each side of the face, that connect your jaw to your skull and make it possible for you to open and close your mouth when chewing or speaking.

OA and other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, cause discomfort with jaw movement that may worsen significantly as the condition progresses.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a condition that causes your immune system to attack and destroy healthy joint tissue that it mistakenly identifies as toxic.

Connective tissue diseases

Your joints are held together by connective tissue such as ligaments and tendons that hold the bones of joints in place and provide smooth movement of the structure. Connective tissue diseases inflame and irritate connective tissue, which leads to TMJ discomfort and dysfunction. These disorders include RA and other conditions, such as lupus and scleroderma.

Jaw or facial deformities

Jaw or facial deformities that may be genetic in origin or related to trauma sustained during an accident or injury can interfere with your jaw’s ability to function smoothly and may result in TMJ pain and discomfort.

Misaligned teeth

Along with bite issues that lead to difficulty chewing or speaking and pain, misaligned teeth can strain facial muscles and may initiate or worsen TMJ dysfunction. Symptoms related to misaligned teeth can also cause ear pain, headaches, jaw clicking, and other symptoms linked to TMJ disorder.

Treating TMJ disorder

Although our surgeons here at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates of Nevada are nationally recognized for their surgical expertise and skill, they make every effort to treat TMJ disorders with conservative therapies that relieve your joint pain and help prevent future muscle spasms.

Depending on the nature of your condition, your therapy may include:

If these measures fail, your surgeon may recommend therapies such as arthrocentesis or minimally invasive arthroscopy to surgically repair the joint damage.

If you’re struggling with TMJ disorder, schedule a visit at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates of Nevada today for an accurate diagnosis and effective relief from your symptoms.

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