UPDATE: For detailed information and practical steps to help you beat TMJ disorder naturally, take a look at TMJ No More.
There are many physiological disorders that run in families and although TMJ can sometimes be seen among members of the same family, it is not actually a genetic disorder.
TMJ is the generalized term used to describe a cluster of disorders associated with dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint, in conjunction with and a host of painful symptoms.
The two joints that make up the temporomandibular joint translate (or slide) and rotate can become irritated or damaged. In severe cases, the joint can be destroyed requiring intensive treatment.
As pain becomes more prevalent, the cartilage and bone may wear down, causing more problematic issues (such as eye socket pain).
Because it is not a genetic disorder, pinpointing the cause becomes difficult.
The most successful studies allow specialists to provide treatment based upon scientific research, trials, and literature.
Research that is consistent with testing of genetic disorders allows these studies to be retested for consistency and accuracy, thus they are most useful.
As the cause of TMJ cannot be diagnosed due to genetic aspect nor any other factor, TMJ specialists are at a loss when it comes to finding the true culprit.
The temporomandibular is an incredibly powerful joint that can become compromised from a vast array of mysterious symptoms. Its unbridled complexity makes it difficult to treat, but by no means is it impossible.
As previously mentioned, TMJ itself is not something that can be inherited… but…there are a number of genetic contributors that can exacerbate the complicated condition.
A misaligned bite can be genetic, as individuals of the same family may require braces.
Dental problems such as misalignment, crookedness, and teeth crowding are symptoms that can cause TMJ symptoms to worsen. In some cases, misalignment can be a singular cause for TMJ dysfunction.
Symptoms such as anxiety disorders, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep disturbances and fibromyalgia are other possible fundamental hereditary concerns.
As TMJ disorders result from underlying genetic issues such as these, it can be misconstrued that the disorder itself is genetic in origin.
A study by an anthology of medical and dental researchers revealed that only a few genes may in fact might play a role in the etiology of chronic pain conditions. TMJ actually may develop from myriad of chronic pain problems and those conditions can be inherited, although TMJ itself cannot.
Disorders such as anxiety are the primary antecedent of stress. The chief complaint of symptomatic patients experiencing stress is jaw pain resulting from clenching and/or grinding of the teeth.
This causes varying degrees of pain and structural damage.
Although there is a wide debate as to the cause of TMJ, ranging from trauma to a host of mysterious other causes, specialists all agree upon the following three facts.
- TMJ is responsible for myofascial pain involving the messetar muscles, those muscles that control function of the jaw.
- Secondly, it is well received that internally, the disc can become displaced, the jaw may become dislocated, and both the conyle and fossa may incur injury.
- Lastly, the temporomandibular joint can be affected by arthritis.
When accessing symptoms, it is best to address an injury to the jaw that may have occurred at some point in a symptomatic patient’s life span.
If trauma can be ruled out, investigating some of the common underlying issues that contribute to temporomandubular malfunction need be addressed.
Understanding Genes and TMJ
As most genetic diseases and disorders are a result of genetic mutation, TMJ sufferers should understand the difference.
From syndromes that arise from chromosomal abnormalities such as down syndrome to mitochondrial inheritance, which causes mitochondrial myopathies such as dementia, stroke, and seizures; genetic disorders are often permanent and their symptoms unavoidable.
Unlike TMJ, studies on genetic abnormalities have uncovered paramount discoveries, making treatment, in some situations, more readily available.
It would be correct to say that when it comes to genetic disorders, professionals have a better understanding of what they are up against.
Unlike asthma, autism, Crohn’s disease, hemophilia, Parkinson’s disease, or cystic fibrosis, genes do not play a role in TMJ development. Some diseases may, as inadvertent it may seem, play a role.
Let’s give an extreme example of how one of these genetic diseases may contribute to worsening a patient’s symptoms.
A person who suffers from Crohn’s disease, a disease that creates severe discomfort, inflammation, and/or swelling of the digestive tract, and irritation of any part of the digestive tract, may enter a state of elevated anxiety and clench their teeth during a flare up.
If the Crohn’s patient has many flare ups and demonstrates a clenching behavior often enough, this behavior may lead to TMJ symptoms.
A Little P.I Work Goes A Long Way
Before running out to have a bunch of tests done, there are a few things to consider.
Address anxiety levels, how much stress are you experiencing? Can you recall a time when you injured your face in any way? What are your eating habits; do they include tough and chewy foods and do you eat foods that require you to bite down to break pieces off?
Did your jaw pain arise suddenly or has it been worsening over time?
Also, do you wear braces and is there a chance that you may have had mislaid orthodontics? Are you often in a hurry during meals and do you find that you chew your food vigorously?
Addressing these questions before visiting a dentist, orthodontist, myofascial specialist, or any other medical professional will save some time. Keep a journal of when your symptoms worsen and when you’re symptom free.
If you find yourself clenching your jaw during the day, make a note of what triggered the behavior.
If you sleep beside a partner, ask them if they have noticed you grinding your teeth at night.
Playing detective can often identify at least one culprit responsible for TMJ pain; however, it is essential that you take your findings to a professional who can provide proper treatment. Sometimes treatment can be as simple as a splint, or specialized dental night guard specifically fit and adjusted by a dentist.
Regardless of your personal findings, it is essential to seek treatment from a medical professional.
They can steer you in the right direction on your road to recovery. You won’t want to go at it alone.
Since TMJ disorders are not genetic, passing the painful condition on to offspring is of no concern. Management of underlying symptoms can be easier than that of disorders genetic in nature.
As far as underlying factors are concerned, the number one cause of TMJ is due to an injury.
The incidence of developing TMJ most often arises from some sort of trauma to the jaw.
Generations To Come
There is hope for future TMJ sufferers.
As technology becomes more advanced, researchers are hopeful to uncover the mysteries surrounding TMJ.
If you or someone you know suffers from a TMJ disorder, it has developed from a mysterious and unknown issue that may possibly be discovered with a little introspective research.