I have often wondered if suppressed anger and the resulting clenching of my jaws was a factor that led to my initial TMJ symptoms years ago. I was the youngest child in my family, very shy and got angry very easily. However, I rarely expressed myself when I was angry. And I often felt myself “clenching my teeth” and thinking about the people that made me angry, almost never expressing my anger verbally or emotionally to other people.
It is a question that is difficult to answer, even scientifically. How would someone measure a concept such as “repressed anger” and relate it to an amount of “jaw clenching.” I am not quite sure.
And from a treatment standpoint diagnosing anger as a cause would not help reverse symptoms. I believe that once someone has spent years, or even decades, clenching one’s jaw and teeth, their pattern would become habitual and chronic. Helping someone to process anger or stop getting angry would not reverse the sensory-motor pattern. For that, one would need something like Feldenkrais sessions or some other treatment.
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