How TMJ Affects Your Dental Health

In past blogs, we discussed TMJ dysfunction and TMJ disorder symptoms. TMJ disorder is a common condition that varies in severity from patient to patient. The most noticeable TMJ symptoms produce discomfort and pain in the face, neck, jawbones, and the ears. However, teeth grinding (bruxism) is often interrelated with TMJ dysfunction. Bruxism is best defined as a habitual, non-functional grinding of the teeth—usually at night. Over time, bruxism from TMJ disorder or malocclusions harms your teeth.

Tooth Wear

Tooth wear is a result of long-term bruxism. A misaligned bite also causes the teeth to scrape one another abnormally. Non-functional grinding and scraping of the teeth will wear down the shape of your teeth, especially molars and cusps.  Your teeth are susceptible to a chip or fracture as they become weaker from bruxism.

Enamel Loss

Enamel damage is a common condition that occurs with bruxism and malocclusions. As you grind your teeth, you create microscopic fractures in your tooth enamel. Composed of minerals, tooth enamel is a strong substance that protects the vulnerable interior structures of your teeth from decay. Harmful bacteria attack and eat away at your teeth when your enamel is damaged.

Effects of Severe Tooth Wear

Tooth wear eventually damages the interior structures of the teeth such as the nerve and pulp chamber. If tooth wear from TMJ disorder or bruxism results in a fracture, patients often experience intense discomfort. Patients with fractures that affect the nerve or pulp may need root canal therapy or tooth extractions.

If you believe you have TMJ disorder or bruxism, don’t wait until it’s too late to seek treatment. Dr. James Fondriest addresses TMJ dysfunction, malocclusions, and teeth grinding with effective treatment options. To schedule an appointment, contact our Chicago dentist office at (847) 234-0517. We serve patients from the North Shore and the neighboring Chicago communities.