The health and function of your teeth, jaws, and bite structures are intricately connected in a wide variety of ways. For example, your temporomandibular joints, which are located on either side of your jaw, are responsible for allowing your lower jaw to move when you bite, chew, and speak. Their proper function relies on several other factors, including the health and integrity of your jawbone, and the alignment of your teeth. When one or more of these factors don’t function properly, the impact to your TMJs, as well as your overall bite function, can have significant consequences for your oral health and more.
What your TMJ disorder means
TMJ disorder isn’t like a cavity or a case of gingivitis. Such conditions can often be traced to a specific source (namely, oral bacteria) and typically exhibit a well-defined set of symptoms, such as toothaches or gum bleeding. However, TMJ disorder can manifest itself differently in everyone, and can describe tissue and/or joint damage, misalignment, erosion, trauma, inflammation, or more, in one or both of your TMJs. Because of its unique nature, TMJ disorder can mean different things, including its underlying causes and the specific symptoms you experience because of it.
The impact on how your bite functions
While the specific symptoms of TMJ disorder can be different for everyone, some of the different impacts of a TMJ disorder can be common for patients who experience one. For example, because the condition affects one or both of your jaw joints, it can impact how they function when you bite and chew. You may notice your jaw having to shift to accommodate the difference in how each TMJ moves, or experiencing clicking sensations in the joints as they adjust for a bite misalignment. In addition to the variety of discomforts TMJ disorder can cause, the diminishing effect on your bite’s function will grow worse the longer the condition is left untreated.
The effects on the rest of your oral health
When your bite doesn’t function as well as it should, especially due to an imbalance in your teeth and/or jaws, the dysfunction can impact nearly every aspect of your oral health in some way. For instance, an imbalance in your bite doesn’t just cause your jaw joints to shift, but also exposes some of your teeth to excessive amounts of pressure. This can be made worse if you develop bruxism, or chronic teeth-grinding, as a result of your TMJ disorder, and you may require treatment to restore the health and integrity of one or more damaged teeth.
Learn how TMJ disorder impacts your oral health
If your TMJs are damaged or malfunctioning, the disorder may be impacting your oral health in more ways than you realize. To learn more, schedule an appointment with us by calling Dreem Dentistry in Leawood, KS, today at 913-681-5500.