Risk Factors for TMJ Disorders

Temporomandibular joint disorder (most commonly known as “TMJ”) is a condition that affects the jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement. It is a highly complex disorder that causes a number of unwanted symptoms. Some of the symptoms include jaw pain, headaches, ear pain, issues when you chew, and clicking or popping sounds when you open or close your jaw. While the cause of TMJ is not fully clear, there are certain factors that can place you at a higher risk for the condition. Below you will find the risk factors for TMJ disorders.

Risk Factors for TMJ Disorders

Despite the cause not being entirely known, there are a number of factors that increase your risk for TMJ.


Arthritis causes inflammation in your joints, including the TMJ. Various types of arthritis can place you at a higher risk for TMJ, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. These types of arthritis can damage the cartilage in the TMJ which can lead to pain, reduced mobility, and stiffness.

Jaw Injury:

Trauma to your jaw can damage the TMJ and the muscles and ligaments around it. This can place you at a higher risk for TMJ. It can also cause pain, stiffness, and difficulty opening or closing your jaw. To reduce your risk, consult with a medical professional right away if your jaw is injured.

Long-Term Bruxism:

Bruxism is a condition characterized by excessive teeth grinding or clenching. It is often done unconsciously and can cause a variety of dental issues. Bruxism is a risk factor for TMJ because the excessive grinding can put too much pressure on the joint. This can lead to inflammation, pain, and further damage the TMJ.

Connective Tissue Diseases:

Some connective tissue diseases, including scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis, can increase your risk for TMJ. This is because the tissue diseases can damage the cartilage and connective tissues that make up the joint. This can result in reduced mobility, pain, and inflammation.


Stress can cause tension in your face and jaw, in addition to clenching and grinding your teeth. This can be a risk factor for TMJ as it can impact the area around the joint.

Other Factors:

In addition to the factors mentioned above, there are additional factors that can increase your risk for the condition that are outside of your control. Women are more likely than men to develop TMJ. In addition, those between the ages 20 to 40 are at the highest risk for the condition. Lastly, if you have close family members with TMJ you are at an increased risk for the condition.

TMJ Disorder Treatment

While some cases of TMJ can resolve on their own, it’s important to consult with a dental professional about the condition. Oftentimes conservative TMJ disorder treatment can address the issue, but advanced intervention may be necessary. This can include surgery or orthodontic treatment depending on the severity of your condition. One of the most important factors when it comes to TMJ is an early diagnosis. This can ensure that you get the right treatment to effectively manage your symptoms. It can also help prevent further damage to your jaw joint.

Common symptoms of TMJ include pain or tenderness in your jaw, pain in one or both of your temporomandibular joints, aching pain around your ear, facial pain, locking of the joining (which can make it really difficult to open and close your mouth), and difficult or pain while chewing. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact Smile Studio Dentistry in Upland. They are skilled in TMJ disorder treatment and can help improve your condition. Contact their office today to schedule an appointment!