Have you experienced a recurring click, pop, or grinding sensation of the jaw? Can you no longer open your mouth all the way like you once did? You may have a temporomandibular joint disorder, better known as a TMJ disorder or TMD. Dr. Bruce Wilderman has aided patients with these problems in the Doylestown and Philadelphia, PA area, performing TMJ disorder treatment to relieve jaw pain and improve joint function.
TMJ disorders have multiple causes, some of which you may not expect. With that in mind, the Artistic Expressions Dentistry team would like to discuss how crooked teeth can eventually lead to a TMJ disorder.
About TMJ Disorders
The temporomandibular joint is one of the body’s most complicated joints given the motions the jaw makes when speaking, biting, chewing, and making facial expressions. Over time, strain on the jaw or changes in the jaw’s movement can cause the jaw joint to become misaligned, or at least function suboptimally. This, in essence, is a TMJ disorder.
Now let’s consider the connection to poor dental alignment.
How Crooked Teeth Leads to Teeth Grinding
When your teeth are not properly aligned, it puts uneven strain on different parts of the mouth. One side of the jaw may be working harder than it should because the balance of the bite is off. During sleep, your jaw joint may struggle to find a comfortable resting position, causing it to shift. This gnashing and clenching motion is known as teeth grinding (bruxism), which can lead to tooth damage, headaches, and jaw problems.
Cause and Effect: Teeth Grinding into TMJ Disorders
If you feel the side of your jaw as you clench your teeth, you may notice how it moves and flexes. Imagine that strain happening consistently at night for weeks, months, and even years. Over time, teeth grinding can cause your jaw joint to experience serious wear and tear, resulting in dysfunction of the joint.
This cause and effect relationship from crooked teeth to teeth grinding to a TMJ disorder is more common than you think. That’s why our Philadelphia area dental practice always seeks to address dental misalignment as soon as possible.
How to Treat a TMJ Disorder Caused by Crooked Teeth
There are a few approaches to TMJ disorder treatment when the primary cause is crooked teeth and dental misalignment. Here are a few options:
- A Custom Night Guard - A night guard is a type of retainer that is worn at night during sleep. When the night guard is in place, it prevents the upper and lower teeth from coming into contact. This prevents tooth damage from teeth grinding, and also reduces the amount of strain placed on the jaw joint.
- Orthodontic Care - Improving dental alignment can help reduce instances teeth grinding and tis severity. Braces and other orthodontic appliances can be used on teens and adults to help improve the health and appearance of the smile, and prevent further jaw joint strain.
- Treatments for the Jaw Joint Itself - If the TMJ is damaged, there are numerous surgical procedures and non-surgical therapies to consider to repair the harm done to the joint and its surrounding structures.
During a consultation at our Philadelphia area practice, we can develop a custom TMJ disorder treatment plan with you.
Speak with a Skilled Dentist
If you would like to learn more about treating TMJ disorders and improving your dental health and wellness, we encourage you to contact a skilled cosmetic and restorative dentist. Dr. Wilderman and his team can be reached by phone at (215) 340-1199.