Can Stress Cause TMJ?

stress-tmjDo you ever feel excruciating pain in your jaw or elsewhere in your face when you open your mouth, such as when chewing or even yawning? Is it sometimes difficult to open and close your jaw? Do you frequently feel a lot of stress or do you live a stressful lifestyle? Can stress cause TMJ?

You might be surprised to learn that yes, stress can indeed cause TMJ. While it is not one of the most widely recognized causes for the disorder, it is something that is a growing concern and as people continue to lead more stressful lives it is likely to continue to become something that is seen more and more frequently.

The connection

When you think about it, it is relatively easy to understand the close link between stress and TMJ. TMJ is caused by physical stress that is placed on the joints of the jaw, making it painful and often difficult to open and close the jaw effectively. As the stress on the joints becomes worse, it can have a detrimental effect elsewhere in the body, and may cause migraines, ear pain or a sore neck. Similarly, stress is directly related to many of the same problems that can cause TMJ. When you are stressed, you have a natural tendency to tense the muscles throughout your body. You also have a tendency to clench your jaw more frequently. This can place a tremendous amount of stress on the joints inside the jaw.

Relieve you jaw tension at your Los Gatos dentist

While it may not be terribly detrimental for you if you are experiencing a momentary episode of stress, dealing with long-term stress and repeatedly tensing muscles in your jaw, head and neck can definitely cause TMJ. In fact, this repeated tightening of muscles and clenching of joints can have a tremendous impact on your overall physical health. In the worst cases, it is possible to clench the jaw so tightly that the entire joint becomes misaligned, thus putting pressure on nerve endings and forcing your entire body to cope with the problem.

However, if you think your TMJ may be related to stress, you can find effective solutions by visiting a dentist and working with professionals that can help you find answers. One such solution is to have you fitted with a mouthpiece that is designed to keep your jaw in alignment, thus preventing you from grinding your teeth so hard that it causes TMJ. This is one of the most effective solutions for TMJ and can alleviate a great deal of pain and even more severe complications that result from the disorder going unabated for long periods of time.

Learn more

If you suspect that your stress may be causing TMJ, take my TMJ questionnaire and I’ll reply with a free, no obligations diagnostic recommendation. Once you are armed with information, the correct treatment os not far behind.