Surprising Causes of TMJ Disorder

Surprising causes of TMD

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, more than 10 million Americans suffer from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder (TMD). Common symptoms include jaw pain and a clicking or popping sound while you chew. Living with TMD can be bothersome, especially if you do not know what’s causing it. In this blog post, West Orange TMJ Specialist Dr. Ivan F. Stein shares a few surprising factors and habits that may trigger or worsen TMD.


It’s no secret that stress has a multitude of effects on your body. What you may not know is stress causes many people to grind their teeth (bruxism). Constant teeth grinding can lead to wear and tear on the teeth, leading to several dental concerns, including cracks, fractures and TMJ disorder. Learn more about how to alleviate stress.

Drug Use

Research shows the use of amphetamines like cocaine can lead to clenching and grinding of the teeth. Continuous grinding can stress the muscles and ligaments controlling TMJ functionality.

Poor Posture

Your posture affects your entire body, from head to toe. Speaking of your head, constant slouching can aggravate the jaw joint by shifting the lower jaw forward, leading to misalignment and TMJ disorder.

Super Sizing It

Upgrading to large on your next burger or burrito meal may end up costing you more than just a few cents or dollars. Opening your mouth too wide to take a big bite can add stress your jaw muscles and ligaments. This can be even worse if you already have TMJ disorder. To avoid straining your jaw, cut your food into smaller, more manageable bites.

Treatment for TMJ Disorder

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, Dr. Stein of the Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey may recommend the following treatments:

  • Jaw exercises to strengthen your muscles
  • Medication including muscle relaxants
  • A mouth guard to decrease clenching or grinding of the teeth while sleeping
  • Ultrasound therapy to break up scar tissue and adhesions in the deeper muscles and tissue layers
  • Microcurrent therapy to stimulate the body’s production of ATP (a high-energy molecule), which relaxes the muscle tissue.
  • Low-level laser therapy to ATP production, which relaxes the muscle tissue and decreases pain and inflammation.

The best way to find out which treatment option is best for you is by scheduling an evaluation with Dr. Stein. Please call (855) TMJ-DOCS or (855) 865-3627 today.