One of the major causes for TMJ disorder is teeth grinding and clenching, a.k.a. Bruxism.
Stress produces excess energy, which needs an outlet. This excess energy usually is dissipated via grinding, at night, or clenching during the day. Each produces extreme pressure on the muscles and the temporomandibular joint, ultimately resulting in the damage of the joint. Besides this wear facets, or worn areas on teeth caused by tooth on tooth contact, may start to appear, causing sensitivity in those teeth, especially during chewing. Tooth or filling breakage is common.
The key is palliative treatment. Stress reduction is important, jaw exercises and biofeedback programs can be very effective. To protect the teeth a bruxism appliance may be recommended. This appliance can be worn at night or during the day when clenching occurs. It prevents tooth on tooth contact and prevents the force of the muscles to perform its isometric exercise during this time.