TMJ Disorder, better known as Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction is a disorder of the joint near the joint of the jaw and the skull. It can also be described as a pain in the muscles which are employed for chewing. This disorder is characterized by difficulty in jaw movement while there are different sounds from the temporomandibular joints. This disorder is the not much threatening to life but it can affect the quality of life since, if neglected, the disorder may turn chronic with terrible discomfort.
What causes this TMJ disorder?
TMJ is detectable after a group of symptoms appears and trouble our facial region. When all the associated symptoms start appearing, it causes this particular disorder. The exact etiological factor behind the occurrence of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction is yet a mystery but there are a number of factors that are responsible for the occurrence of this disease. The factor may be genetic, they may be anatomic or they may be due to some hormonal misbalance in the body.
Following are discussed some of the factors which may cause TMJ disorder:
- Trauma may be one of the serious factors. If due to some trauma, the mouth of a person remains open for a prolonged period of time, then due to hyperextension of the jaws TMJ disorder may occur. This may occur during general anesthesia of the facial oral region by oral intubation, yawning, dental treatment etc.
- Occlusal factors are a causative factor for this disorder. Abnormal biting and chewing activities may give rise to this disorder.
- Genetic factors are often blamed for Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction. It is not mandatory that Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction is passed from one member to the other, generation after generation. But it may occur due to the predisposition for developing the disease.
- Hormonal factors may be another reason for the occurrence of the disease. TMJ occurs predominantly among females than in males. Researchers reveal that the female sex hormone estrogen is involved in the occurrence. Change in the rapid circulating levels of estrogen hormone is correlated with the cause. Lower levels of estrogen may trigger the pain to a much higher extent. Due to elevated levels of estrogen, the inflammation of the Temporomandibular Joint occurs which causes much pain.
- TMJ may be caused due to associated conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis, osteoarthritis and another similar group of related bone disorders.
- Jaw Clenching, gritting of teeth, nocturnal bruxism, various psychosocial factors like stresses are also some of the causative factors.
Apart from the above-mentioned causes, there some oral and facial disturbances causing TMJ disorders which are extremely painful. They may be an erosion of the disk of the temporomandibular joint or moving out of its proper alignment. It may occur if the joint’s cartilage is damaged due to arthritis. If the joint is damaged by some serious injury, TMJ disorder may also occur.
It is thus recommended to everyone to be safe and take proper care of their health in order to lead a healthy life since we know that “prevention is better than cure”.
Authored by Dr. ABHIMANYU CHATURVEDI