Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ disorder or TMD is a problem that can occur where your jaw, whether through chewing, biting, grinding or just being there causes discomfort or pain.  It is caused by irritation or inflammation around the temporomandibular joint, usually in the muscles or ligaments that give the jaw its flexibility.

While it is mostly an annoyance rather than a significant medical issue, the onset of TMJ can cause pain and discomfort. In addition, persistent and frequent incidents of TMJ can signify more severe underlying issues that require immediate treatment. It is important then, to understand what can trigger TMJ if you experience it.

Before you seek TMJ treatment in Burlington, here are 5 of the most common things that trigger TMJ:

Misaligned Disc

The jaw is an extremely complex joint that both hinges and slides backwards and forwards. The bone structure here is covered with cartilage, including a disk that sits between the bones to act as shock absorption.

That disc can become misaligned through wear and tear or hyperextension of the jaw, such as yawning. The result is that as the jaw opens and closes, it moves in and out of position, causing the familiar clicking sound associated with TMJ.

Eating Hard Foods


Eating a lot of hard or crunchy foods puts a lot of pressure on the jaw and can lead to muscle fatigue as well as excessive wear. This in turn can lead to TMJ and cause significant pain over time.

Avoiding hard and chewy foods, such as using cooked instead of raw vegetables, yoghurts instead of chewy dishes, can alleviate the problem over time.

Stress Leads to Teeth Grinding


Stress is a significant threat to overall health today but can be a direct contributor to a flare of up TMJ. Stress causes increase in muscle tension, especially in the neck and head area, and that in turn can lead to inflammation around the joints, including the jaw. In turn, that can lead to an incident of TMJ.

Stress can manifest in other ways too and is a major cause of teeth grinding. This is most commonly found during sleep but can be a subconscious act when awake too. Teeth grinding also puts stress on the jaw and cause TMJ as a result.

Teeth grinding leads to considerable wear and tear on the teeth and over the years can lead to cracking and enamel erosion and decay.

Stress relief therapy and stress coping mechanisms can have a positive impact on stress levels and with them the occurrences of TMJ.



Too much chewing can cause muscle fatigue and wear, leading to TMJ. This applies to chewy foods of course but can also include chewing the inside of the cheek or other similar habits, which are often brought on by stress.

Avoiding chewy foods and being aware of the destructive habits can help alleviate the issue.



Injury through accidents or other trauma around the jaw area can also lead to instances of TMJ. Here the issue could signify further problems as a result of the damage, and you should seek TMJ treatment as soon as possible.



Arthritis can affect most joints in the body, including the jaw. This can lead to the popping sensation and subsequent pain associated with TMJ.


There are some ways you can seek to alleviate the discomfort such as trying some natural methods to fix TMJ, but as we can see, TMJ can have many causes. While in most scenarios it is a relatively benign issue, painful as it occurs but not a long-term problem, there are situations where it can indicate something more serious.

If you suffer from TMJ for an extended period, and especially if you are frequently experiencing TMJ, it is important to seek professional advice from your dentist or doctor to ensure that there is not a more severe problem to deal with.