The list of consequences associated missing teeth is not short. Beyond threatening your smile appearance, missing teeth can disrupt your speech and chewing ability. However, what you may not know is that when missing teeth aren’t replaced in a timely manner, the surrounding teeth will naturally migrate towards the open space. This changes your bite alignment, which can in turn throw off the alignment of your jaw joint and lead to TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder).
TMJ disorder is nothing to take lightly. In fact, when this type of jaw problem is caused by a bad bite, it can be nearly impossible to find relief. Your TMJ is a very important and highly used joint that connects your jaw to the base of your skull. Without your TMJ, you wouldn’t be able to speak, chew or even yawn. When the TMJ is imbalanced, irritated or over-strained, however, the symptoms can be quite disruptive.
TMJ disorder is associated with a broad range of symptoms, including:
- Jaw pain
- Clicking and popping in the jaw
- Severe headaches
- Neck/shoulder pain
- Difficulty opening their mouth
- Ringing or radiating pain in the ears
- Sensitive teeth
If TMD is not addressed, the symptoms can get so severe that they cause malnutrition, dizziness, poor posture and an overall low quality of life.
While TMJ problems are often associated with stress, teeth grinding/clenching, jaw injury and even genetics, it is also a condition that can be brought on or worsened by missing teeth. In such cases, replacing missing teeth can be the only solution for lasting relief from painful jaw symptoms.
How Dental Implants Can Improve TMJ
Whether your TMJ disorder was caused by missing teeth or not, it is important to know that replacing your missing teeth with dental implants offers a high chance at improving your symptoms. Even with just one missing tooth, your facial muscles have to work extra hard, and your jaw may open and close improperly as a result. However, when implants are placed where the natural teeth used to reside, the surrounding teeth can regain their original position. In turn, implants can help restore your bite to a place that does not put excessive strain on your TMJ and its surrounding muscles. A balanced bite is one where the teeth on both sides of your touch when you bite down.
Learn More From an Implants Dentist
Dr. Wayne Suway specializes in dental implants, and he has a keen understanding of the relationship between missing teeth and the jaw joint, which isn’t always a favorable one. We can help you learn more about how dental implants could help solve your painful TMJ issues. Call our Marietta office to schedule your consult.