Are Dental Implants a Treatment Option for TMJ?

By Radhika Thakkar, DDS on September 19, 2022

Do you experience pain and jaw-popping symptoms of TMJ? Did you know that in some cases, misaligned teeth could cause TMJ? If you live with the painful sensations of TMJ and have misaligned teeth, continue reading to discover how dental implants can help alleviate your TMJ pain and provide you with a better smile with a full mouth dental reconstruction.

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We all realize the importance of maintaining healthy teeth; however, many people are unaware that missing one or more teeth comes with significant risks. Not replacing a missing tooth with dental implants or another restoration as soon as possible can lead to the development of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, which causes pain in the jaw, neck, or facial muscles. Other common symptoms include headaches, cracking or popping sounds when opening your mouth, and ear pain.

A great way to understand TMJ disorder is to consider walking around your house all day wearing a ballet flat (or tennis shoe) on one foot and a high-heeled shoe (or consider one of Prince’s boots) on the other. Your body will ache in many places as it was misaligned throughout the day. Just like your feet need to be equal and on the same level, your jawbone has that same need. So, when you have missing teeth, it causes far more than just damage to your bite.

That said, it is possible to develop TMJ disorder for other reasons, and we would be remiss not to share those reasons with you. Common causes of TMJ disorder, aside from missing teeth, include:

  • Hereditary factors
  • Unconscious tooth grinding (called bruxism)
  • Stress
Without the proper preventative care and restoration for TMJ disorder, patients might experience a breakdown of existing restorations, including fillings, crowns, and bridges. Thus, the typical treatment for TMJ disorder often includes therapies such as occlusal appliances, physical therapy, and education and counseling.

When you live with missing teeth for a long time, your jaw will become misaligned, adding stress to your facial muscles. Replacing missing teeth with full mouth reconstruction helps resolve TMJ pain and symptoms.

 

So, What Procedures Might Be Included in a Full Mouth Reconstruction?

  • Dental implants are the most long-lasting procedure you can receive when it comes to a full mouth dental reconstruction.
  • Dental implants are titanium bars that are inserted into your gums to mimic the structure of your natural root. A crown, or series of crowns, is then attached to the dental implant, giving you natural-looking teeth.
  • The interesting thing about a full mouth dental reconstruction is that you do not need to get a dental implant for every missing tooth. As few as four dental implants can be inserted into your jawbone, with a series of connected crowns or dentures secured to the dental implants, giving you a beautiful smile that you’ll love showing off.

To conclude, if you are experiencing TMJ disorder, it is essential to know that you don’t have to suffer. Treatment is available. Dentists can help you reduce the pain associated with your TMJ disorder through dental implants or the proper TMJ treatment.

 

Here's a Helpful Tip

If other treatments have proven unsuccessful in relieving your TMJ pain, replacing each of your missing teeth with an implant restores proper alignment, making it one potential treatment option for TMJ. The first step in receiving dental implants is to schedule an appointment for a consultation. During this session, your dentist will explain the process to you and take X-rays and an impression of your jaw and teeth.

 

Dr. Radhika Thakkar, DDS, is an AEGD Resident at Eastman Institute of Oral Health, University of Rochester, NY. She can be reached through her Instagram @Dr.radhika.thakkar.

Topics: dental implant process, what to know about implants, overall health, Dental implant procedure, Replacement Techniques, TMJ

About LifeSmiles

The LifeSmiles blog empowers individuals struggling with dental problems to find reliable, practical information and advice on dental implants and how to find a qualified implant expert. Our goal is to ensure that quality care and peace of mind is available to every dental implant patient.

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