TMJ is a common abbreviation for your temporomandibular joint – these are the joints that connect your jaw to your skull. Your jaw function is controlled by the trigeminal nerve, which is also responsible for processing sensations of your face and head. When you develop TMJ problems, the nerve can become aggravated, and you can experience facial soreness, and headaches. TMJ problems also make it more difficult to properly move your jaw. While many events can lead to trouble with your TMJs, having lost teeth puts you at greater risk.
How Tooth Loss Can Cause TMJ Problems
If you lose even a single tooth, you may have to readjust how you perform ordinary jaw functions. In order to watch out for a gap, you may alter how you chew. If you are self-conscious about the effects of tooth loss on your appearance, you may change how you move your mouth when you speak. These accommodations can put your TMJs in a state of discomfort. Over time, you can develop symptoms associated with TMJ problems.
Other Causes Of TMJ Problems
Tooth loss is not the only factor in your chances of developing TMJ problems. You could also develop problems from persistent teeth grinding, arthritis in the TMJs, or a physical injury that affects your jaw alignment.
Several prosthetic dental options are available to address tooth loss. A dental bridge is a prosthetic anchored by dental crowns on each of its neighboring teeth. A bridge is secure enough to handle chewing and biting, and has a naturalistic appearance. A dental implant can be inserted as a replacement for a tooth root – the implant can hold a bridge or a crown without affecting neighboring teeth, and offers stability for a prosthetic.