There are four major factors that contribute to TMJ problems.
- Disturbances in growth and development like nasal obstruction causing mouth breathing and genetic problems.
- Trauma or accident (for example a whiplash type which forces the neck backward then forward causing dislocation of the jaw joints.
Trauma can also come from a rough dental experience or from dental work that doesn’t fit properly. In addition, mercury silver fillings (called amalgam) and other dissimilar metals within the mouth can negatively affect the normal electrical potential of nerves, muscles and blood vessels. Special instrumentation is available to measure these effects.
- Habits, improper jaw function and posture which puts undue pressure on the lower jaw during sleep can have a deleterious affect on the jaw joints. Nail biting, pencil or pen chewing, tooth grinding or clenching can adversely effect the TMJ.
- Stress, especially mental and emotional. Thoughts and feelings are often buried or held in the jaw. I have seen this especially in victims and survivors of childhood abuse. Dietary and nutritional deficiencies are stressors which can also contribute to TMJ problems.