The primary effect of TMJ on teeth is pain and sensitivity. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint disorder, a condition typically caused by jaw misalignment. Inflammation of the temperomandibular joint results from the misalignment of the jaw. Individuals afflicted with the disorder often engage in teeth clinching and teeth grinding.
TMJ — also known as Costen’s Syndrome — usually results from an improper bite due to a misalignment in the jaw. A number of factors may affect alignment, such as degenerative disease, improper chewing, and excessive movement of the jaw. This abnormality stresses various areas that help connect the jaw to the skull, including nerves, muscles, and cartilage. Headaches and a stiff jaw typically result from the condition, as does inflammation of the temporomandibular joint. Other symptoms may range from a dull ache in the face to ringing or pain in the ears.
The stress of TMJ on teeth creates many symptoms. Biting and chewing may prove problematic due to the misplaced jaw. Thus, tooth tenderness and subsequent pain may develop. Excessive clenching or grinding of the teeth can also occur, which may facilitate pain as well. The pain is usually caused by a nerve that runs through the temporomandibular joint known as the trigeminal nerve.
Chronic complications of TMJ on teeth can cause erosion of bones supporting the teeth and the teeth themselves. For example, inflammation of the pulp in the teeth can occur after a tooth has been eroded. This condition produces pain and ultimately damages the nerves in the teeth. Teeth and bones may also click and pop because the teeth shift in the jaw due to a lack of proper support.
TMJ often goes undiagnosed because its symptoms are wrongly attributed to a different cause. As a result, unnecessary root canals or tooth extractions are performed. A dentist specializing in TMJ issues or a neuromuscular dentist can perhaps best assess a TMJ case.
Treatments may first address the resulting damage from TMJ on teeth. Dental work may be needed to care for any periodontal disease, and pain killers can help reduce toothaches or other TMJ pain. Biofeedback machines may help a patient pinpoint specific problems in the muscle or nervous systems and focus therapeutic exercises in those regions. Splints worn in the mouth at night could prevent teeth grinding or clinching. Long-term treatment approaches generally focus on correcting the malformed jaw alignment, either through orthodontic means, behavior modification, or reconstructive surgery in the most serious cases.