TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint, the joints that connect your jawbone to the rest of your skull. Problems with your TMJs can result in a number of uncomfortable symptoms. TMJ dysfunction can cause headaches, make it difficult to move your jaw to speak or eat, and can even cause your jaw to feel “stuck,” and become difficult to move. Your dentist can work with you to identify potential causes of TMJ dysfunction, and help you address its related aches and pains.
What Causes TMJ Dysfunction?
TMJ dysfunction does not have a singular cause. It can be the result of moving your jaw unnaturally when you chew or speak, it could stem from arthritis in your TMJs, or from a related oral health issue, like bruxism. People who suffer malocclusion (a poorly aligned bite) can be vulnerable to TMJ dysfunction, as this condition can cause them to make uncomfortable jaw movements.
TMJ Dysfunction And Your Oral Health
Your dentist can help ease TMJ pain by addressing ongoing problems with your oral health. TMJ dysfunction is often associated with bruxism, or teeth grinding, which can exert significant force on your TMJs. Addressing teeth grinding can relieve pressure on these joints. If you have a painful tooth, it can prevent you from moving your jaw comfortably when you chew. Your dentist can protect a weakened tooth with a dental crown, so that it no longer prevents you from moving your jaw naturally.
Tooth Loss And TMJ Dysfunction
Losing even one tooth can complicate how you chew and speak. Over time, these compromised movements can cause strain, and you can develop TMJ issues. Addressing tooth loss with a dental implant can restore your normal jaw function, and help remedy TMJ problems.