TMJ & Hypermobility: Causes & 5 Tips

Healthy temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are essential to your health and well-being. When you have problems such as pain, loss of range of motion, or joint hypermobility, your quality of life may be reduced. While some TMJ disorders develop from lifestyle choices such as ice or gum chewing, others are hereditary, such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Children born with this condition often develop TMJ dysfunction, particularly TMJ hypermobility.

If you or your child have the symptoms of TMJ hypermobility, schedule an appointment at Trident Dental for a comprehensive TMJ evaluation.

What is TMJ Hypermobility?

People with generalized hypermobility of their joints have an increased range of motion in multiple joints. If the temporomandibular joint is affected, it is referred to as TMJ hypermobility. This condition causes premature or extreme forward gliding of the joint and can involve one or both TMJs.

What Causes TMJ Hypermobility?

Those with some forms of TMJ hypermobility, such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, have a diminished level of collagen in their bodies. This can lead to a laxity of the joints, including the TMJ. As the fibrous TMJ capsule, surrounding ligaments, and the temporalis tendon get overstretched, the hypermobility worsens.

Complications of TMJ Hypermobility

The overstretched structures of the TMJ can cause movement of the internal articular disc, inflammation of the temporalis tendon, and derangement of the joint. While many problems with TMJ hypermobility are mild, some people experience complications, such as:

  • Jaw and facial pain.

  • Clicking or other joint sounds.

  • Referred pain to the ear, neck, or temple area.

  • Jaw dislocation and locking open.

  • Chronic pain.

  • Sleep difficulties, including sleep apnea.

  • Emotional problems, such as depression.

  • Osteoarthritis of the temporomandibular joint.

  • Digestive complications.

  • TMJ disorders

5 Tips for TMJ Hypermobility

Severe cases of TMJ hypermobility may require surgery to repair damage caused by repeated joint dislocations. However, physical therapy is often successful in strengthening the joint’s weak connective tissue and increasing the joint’s stability. 

Here are five tips to help strengthen and improve the health of your TMJs:

  1. Maintain a healthy resting jaw position. Avoid excessively opening and moving your mouth, such as when you yawn, chew gum, or sing.

  2. Maintain a healthy posture. Jaw pain and other symptoms can result from sitting or standing with poor posture. Choosing a chair with proper back support, taking frequent breaks, and standing upright can help with back and jaw pain.

  3. Avoid bad habits like nail biting, chewing your lips or cheek, and clenching your teeth and jaw muscles.

  4. Wear a mouthguard if needed. If you grind your teeth while sleeping, ask your dentist about a custom-made night guard.

  5. Perform jaw-strengthening exercises. Ask your dentist or physical therapist about exercises targeting the TMJ’s muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Schedule Appointment

Contact us at Trident Dental to learn how we can help you with any questions or problems you might have about jaw pain and other symptoms of TMJ disorder. We provide comprehensive dental services to prevent and treat this painful condition that can damage your teeth and gums.

Schedule Appointment

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