TMJ Causes


Chronic Pain…are you at the end of your rope?

Do you suffer from pain around your teeth and in your jaw? Migraines, sore neck, back and shoulders? There are a number of reasons why you might be in pain.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

There are a number of reasons you could have TMD, a disorder that can be extremely painful and impact your life in many ways. TMD is an acute or chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint—the joint which connects the mandible to your skull. This disorder can cause significant dysfunction, pain and impairment.

TMD can be a result of:

Being bottle-fed as a baby – Babies that are bottle-fed often have different jaw development than breastfed babies. During child, allergies and restricted nasal passes can cause mouth breathing and improper jaw development. Enlarged tonsils or adenoids may restrict normal breathing and result in the jaw not developing properly.

Missing Teeth

A missing tooth can affect tooth position, which in turn affects the bite and may create and cause TMD changes.


Having a new filling or crown placed in your mouth, or having teeth straightened,  can affect the bite in subtle ways and lead to TMD.


If you were predestined by genetics to have insufficient room in your jaw for your teeth, this could lead to TMD.

TMD Causes

  • Gum Recession – The force from teeth clenching or grinding can cause gum recession.
  • Ear Problems – inflammation in the joint can affect the middle and inner ear—if the estuation tube, which balances ear pressure, runs through a muscle in spasm, the resulting blockage will lead to dizziness, ear congestion or stuffiness.
  • Joint Pain – the jaw joint becomes inflamed due to being pushed out of place by incorrect jaw movement, causing pain and discomfort.
  • Neck Pain – If joint disease is present, there can be resulting stiffness in the neck and upper back, leading to pain and numbness in the fingertips.
  • Jaw Clicking – this is progressive and is caused by stretching or damage to ligaments in the jaw joint. Increased muscle activity may result because of movements to prevent clicking.
  • Poor Posture – It’s all connected, if there is pain and discomfort in the jaw, leading to stiffness in the neck and back, poor posture can result.
  • Wear of teeth – Constantly moving the lower jaw to be more comfortable can create excessive wear and tear on the teeth. Grinding teeth indicates moving the jaw to a more comfortable position; clenching indicates bracing to help relieve the strain of a muscle in spasm.

You may not have TMD, but the following could be the reasons behind all the pain you are experiencing:

Worn Teeth

Problem – You may be grinding and clenching your teeth. Your jaw muscles are strong—strong enough to wear your teeth down rapidly. Or it could be the result of an injury or trauma to your teeth or the way your jaw developed as a child. There are a number of development issues that can contribute to an under-formed jaw, which could lead to a misaligned or bad bite and rapid tooth wear.

Solution – Teeth can be rebuilt, heightened, widened and strengthened by using porcelain restorations. Facial height can also be restored through orthodontic treatment and porcelain restorations. The jaw position can be determined and adjusted through Neuromuscular dentistry.

Tooth Size

Problem – If you have overly large teeth that crowd your mouth, or small teeth that fall out of alignment, this can result in pain.

 – Neuromuscular diagnosis, orthodontics and/or porcelain restorations to create a proper relationship between your upper and lower jaw.

Crooked Teeth


  • Bite: A bite that is misaligned or overactive can push your teeth out of alignment.
  • Tongue: As a child, tongue movement during swallowing can shift your teeth over time.
  • Breathing: During childhood, mouth breathing can affect facial bone and jaw development. Subtle muscle contractions can slowly push the bones out of alignment.

Solution – Using porcelain restorations or orthodontic treatment, most conditions can be corrected at any age.

Misaligned Bite

Problem – Improper tooth size, missing teeth or uneven jaw or facial growth – A missing tooth or teeth that are not proportionate can cause a bite that is misaligned. Healthy teeth structure won’t guarantee a uniform bite – especially if the jaw is not perfectly proportioned to the 

 – Neuromuscular diagnosis, Orthodontics, Porcelain restorations to rebuild a proper relationship between the jaws.

Dental Center of Tysons Corner
8270 Greensboro Drive, Suite 101
McLean, VA 22102
Phone: 703-214-6570
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