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I've experienced significant TMJD issues, and I know several other people who have also had TMJD issues.

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD or TMD), or TMJ syndrome, is an umbrella term covering acute or chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint, which connects the mandible to the skull. The disorder and resultant dysfunction can result in significant pain and impairment.

The one thing we all seem to have in common is that we've previously had orthodontic work. It's a small sampling size, but in particular I know one person whose onset of TMJD issues began during orthodontic treatment, which suggests to me more than correlation but actual causation between orthodontic work and subsequent TMJD issues.

As well, my dentist, who is also a very highly regarded professor of dentistry, has told me that many of the TMJD issues he sees (and he has seen a lot) correlate with prior orthodontic work. He noted that many dentists have similar observations, but it's not acknowledged by the official powers that be. He's noted that there is a great deal of controversy over this in the regulatory bodies that govern dentistry, and although he's made inquiries with several colleagues he's not aware of any formal studies of relationship between TMJD and orthodontic work.

In light of my own experiences and anecdotal evidence, and the comments of my dentist, I'm curious about whether others have noted or are aware of any evidence that would suggest that orthodontic work causes TMJD issues.

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My personal opinion, based upon my personal experiences with TMJ: No.

There's quite a few studies which would agree with me.

http://www.ajodo.org/article/S0889-5406(94)70095-8/abstract

http://www.jdentaled.org/cgi/content/full/72/8/930

The first link found no correlation between orthodontic work performed and development of TMJD. The second link discusses possible causes - injury, hormones, etc as causing the problem.

There's also http://bjsportmed.com/content/25/1/49.abstract which deals with the use of a scuba mouthpiece compounding TMJ problems.

For my own TMJ problems, they can be traced back to the years I spent playing softball as a catcher. The necessary tightness of the facemask against my jaw pushed it backwards and made it ache. This was before skullcaps were obligatory - so there was no way to mediate the effect. I caught softball for 10 years, from March to August, usually 3 nights a week, 7 innings per game.

  • Good answer.After a little bit of looking,I could only come up with one study that specifically addresses this question.It showed no correlaion between orthodontic work and TMJS.The correlation mentioned in the question could come from the fact that the professor deals with a sort of self-selected sample,a majority of people who see him have probably had orthodontic work anyway,regardless of TMJS.Although,TMJS is an amorphous clinical entity with varied etiology,diffuse symptoms and multiple variables.Understanding may change with more study.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21093399 – Monkey Tuesday Apr 13 '11 at 22:31

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