These two topics may seem like they have little to do with one another, but the truth is that TMD and dental implants can be closely interconnected.
We are here to answer your questions about how TMD may affect your dental implants or vice versa. But first, let’s shed some light on what TMD and dental implants are.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are an innovative way to replace lost teeth. They consist of a metal post that is secured to the jawbone after a tooth is lost or extracted. During a short healing period, your bone fuses to the metal implant, after which a crown is placed to replace the missing tooth. Dental implants can be used to replace one single tooth or an entire mouth’s worth of teeth.
Dental implants have advantages over traditional tooth replacements. These advantages include not only comfort and convenience but also functional considerations. With bridges or dentures, there is no structure under the surface to replace the root of the tooth. As a result, the jaw can become weak and misaligned.
What is TMD?
TMD stands for temporomandibular disorder. It is commonly referred to as TMJ because it is a problem with the temporomandibular joint. This joint is the hinge that attaches your jaw to your skull and allows you to open and close your mouth. Disorders of this joint can cause:
- pain and soreness of the teeth and/or jaw
- clicking, popping, or locking jaw
- tooth grinding
- numbness in the fingers
Aside from affecting your quality of life, some of these symptoms, including tooth grinding, can even lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
What Does TMD Have to do With Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a potential treatment and even a preventative measure against TMD. Here is why they work, along with answers to other frequently asked questions about dental implants and TMD.
Can I Get Dental Implants with TMJ/TMD?
The short answer is yes. Many patients with TMD are candidates for dental implants. Most of the symptoms of TMD do not affect your ability to get implants. The exception is tooth grinding, which may contribute to implant failure. If you show signs of tooth grinding, we can speak to you about ways to prevent it.
Can Dental Implants Improve TMJ/TMD
The good news is that dental implants may significantly improve TMJ and can also prevent it from happening over other tooth replacement methods. Because dental implants are anchored into the jaw, they mimic your lost tooth’s root, maintaining the structural stability of your jaw and preventing misalignment that can lead to TMD.
Other Ways Dental Implants Improve Tooth Health
Dental implants improve your ability to chew naturally and efficiently. As such, you compensate less for missing teeth. This benefit also has the potential to decrease your risk of TMD.
Furthermore, implants lower your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. Empty sockets where teeth are not replaced can harbor bacteria, making neighboring teeth and gums more susceptible.
Another benefit is that dental implants prevent additional tooth loss. As we mentioned, a cavity in the jaw bone can result in poor jaw structure, but it can also lead to a deterioration of additional bone. The otherwise healthy teeth next to a lost tooth can become weakened as a result, increasing the risk that they, too, will be lost.
Ready to Consider Implants?
If you are thinking about dental implants to treat TMD, or simply because they offer a superior option for tooth replacement, contact our office today.