Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders classify a range of conditions that affect the jaw joint and surrounding muscles.
Among its many symptoms, TMJ can have a significant impact on your dental health. When the TMJ is not functioning properly, it can lead to a range of dental issues, such as tooth sensitivity, tooth wear, and even tooth decay.
Understanding the link between TMJ and dental health is important so you can seek prompt treatment from your oral healthcare provider. Here’s how and why TMJ disorders can impact your dental health.
Jaw Misalignment Can Cause Tooth Alignment Problems
Some people have TMJ disorders that result from malocclusion, or an improper bite. Research shows that over 50% of people with TMJ have malocclusion . When the jaw is misaligned, it can cause uneven tooth wear, tooth sensitivity, and changes in the alignment of your teeth over time, which may exacerbate TMJ symptoms.
Malocclusions can also lead to difficulties in chewing and speaking and may cause jaw and facial pain. If your TMJ symptoms are caused by an improper bite, fixing your bite can alleviate your discomfort and prevent damage to your teeth.
Teeth Grinding Can Damage Teeth and Gums
TMJ disorders have also been linked to teeth grinding, also called bruxism. Research shows that as teeth get worn down from bruxism and become flatter, the risk of a temporomandibular joint disorder increases .
Without addressing TMJ or its root causes, there is the potential for bruxism to go untreated. When not treated, bruxism can lead to tooth fractures, gum inflammation, and loose teeth. Over time, teeth can appear unnaturally flat or even because of the disorder, resulting in cosmetic issues.
So if you have TMJ symptoms with an underlying cause such as bruxism, it can impact your dental health!
TMJ Can Make Oral Care More Challenging
If you have TMJ symptoms that include difficulty opening your mouth or limited jaw movement, brushing and flossing can be a challenge . If opening your mouth wide enough to properly brush and floss your teeth is painful, your oral health can quickly become affected.
Without daily brushing and flossing, plaque can accumulate on the surfaces of your teeth and in between the teeth, making tooth enamel damage more likely. Tooth sensitivity, decay, and gum inflammation can all result.
Taking care of your teeth and gums is essential, so don’t let TMJ discomfort prevent you from brushing and flossing properly!
Do You Have Symptoms of TMJ?
If you are experiencing any TMJ symptoms or notice changes in your dental health, it’s essential to follow up with your dentist, who can provide a thorough evaluation and develop a personalized treatment plan to manage TMJ-related issues and protect your oral health.
Don’t wait to seek treatment for your TMJ!