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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can biting my nails cause temporomandibular joint disorder?

    I am a 20 year old female and still bite my nails. It has caused an overbite but lately I have noticed pain and clicking as well. Could it be a sign of TMJ?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Helen Potter


    As a Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, with extensive experience and highly advanced qualifications, as well as excellent communication skills, I can help you to: Become informed … View Profile

    it is unlikely that biting your nails caused your overbite. However if your biting is related to tension then you may also be grinding your teeth at night. This places stress on the jaw joints, ligaments and muscles and may cause pain. Your teeth usually become sensitised to hot, cold and sugary foods.

    As crowns to repair tooth damage later in life are very expensive it is best to check with your dentist or physiotherapist now rather than later! You may need a night splint or information on jaw protection and some simple exercises to relive stress on your jaw

    Helen Potter
    Specialist Physiotherapist

  • The two things,biting nails and TMJ disorder are not linked very closely . Your age is only 20 so the chances that the two things are linked is remote . Even your “overbite” or other  tooth movements,orthodontic problems are not related . It is tongue thrusting or thumb sucking ,including other mouth to finger sucking habits from an early age ,that can cause unfavourable tooth movements . So seek the advice of a dentist for your clicking and painful joint and jaw . Treatment modes can be as simple as adjusting your bite or even eating softer foods on both sides of the mouth (not just the side you favour .).Try not to directly open your jaw too far, as when you yawn or bite into an apple or giant burger . The clicking of your jaw may persist if un treated . The pain however will go away . Only rarely you may need surgery for a problem like this . The results are fantastic ,but it is a last resort . The overbite (problem?) is also a saparate issue for the orthodontist . WE have access to some very good experts in all these fields who Iam sure can eventually solve these problems for you.

  • 3


    Kerry Read


    Headline Physiotherapy for the Head Neck and Jaw deals specifically with TMJ Facial Pain Headache Migraine and other musculoskeletal issues involving the cranial area. All … View Profile

    Nail biting is one of the commonest factors I find in young people with jaw pain, clicking and headaches. It feeds tension into key muscles which are involved in some of the intricate mechanisms of the jaw joint. Try stopping completely for a month and see if your jaw pain and clicking reduces!

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