If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you may have temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and your dentures might be to blame. Nearly three quarters of complete denture wearers have displaced jaw discs, which can put you at risk for TMJ.
What Is TMJ?
TMJ is a name we give to conditions that can cause a wide range of symptoms and seem to be centered on dysfunction of the jaw. In the past, TMJ was considered a single disorder, but consensus is beginning to move toward considering a constellation of disorders, although there is as yet no consensus about how many disorders, what they might be called, and how they might be characterized. Some of the most common symptoms linked to TMJ include:
- Popping, clicking, or grinding sound in the jaw
- Jaw pain
- Irregular jaw movement or inability to open jaw wide
- Neck pain
- Ear-related symptoms like ringing in the ears, ear pain, dizziness, or vertigo
But people with TMJ can have some or none of these symptoms, and they may have other symptoms.
TMJ involves the temporomandibular joint or joints, which join the jaw (the mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull. Often, this involves displacement of the cushioning disc that separates the two bones. When this disc becomes displaced, the jaw might no longer function as it is supposed to. The muscles of the jaw can become tensed and can pass that tension on to other muscles that they partner with. The muscles can also put pressure on nerves in the area, leading to numbness, tingling, pain, and other sensations.
Others argue that the primary mechanism in TMJ is sensitization of the pain system, which can occur either at the periphery or in the brain. But jaw dysfunction can serve to aggravate the sensitized nerves.
Why Denture Wearers Are at Risk
In an ideal, healthy system, your teeth, muscles, and jaw joints all work together harmoniously. But when your teeth are lost, you experience many facial changes. The system can become imbalanced, putting stress on the jaw joints, leading to displaced discs, and causing TMJ symptoms.
When a dentist crafts dentures, they should be designed to replicate an optimal bite, but many denture dentists don’t understand how to do that, or they are following an outdated system of measuring the bite and manufacturing the denture that can’t reliably reproduce a natural, healthy bite.
Denture wearers may develop TMJ symptoms as a result of not wearing their dentures at night. Other times, you might keep wearing your dentures long past the point where they need replacing. Broken and worn dentures can be as damaging to the bite as poorly fitted ones. Despite what you might think, dentures won’t wear into a healthy position. They’re more likely to wear into an unhealthy one.
FOY® Dentures Build a Healthy Bite
FOY® Dentures are different from common dentures: they are designed and fitted using neuromuscular dentistry principles to replicate a healthy bite. You’ll experience fewer TMJ symptoms, less denture pain, and find that it’s easier and more comfortable to chew. Plus, you’ll enjoy rejuvenating benefits similar to a nonsurgical facelift.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of FOY® Dentures, please contact a local FOY® Dentures dentist.