These two dentistry topics may seem to have little to do with each other, but the truth is that TMD and dental implants are closely interconnected. Our dentist, Brian C. McDowell, DDS is an advanced TMJ Specialist in Fitchburg, and he will explain the connection between Dental Implants and TMJ and how each treatment affects the other.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a safe, innovative way to replace lost teeth. They consist of a metal post secured to the jawbone after a tooth is lost or extracted. During a short healing period, your bone fuses with the dental implant. Once healed, our cosmetic and restorative dentist, Dr. Brian McDowell will place a crown to replace the missing tooth and blend naturally with your natural teeth.
There are advantages of having dental implants over traditional tooth replacements. These dental implant benefits include comfort, safety, convenience, and functional considerations. For example, with dental bridges or dentures, there is no structure under the surface to replace the tooth’s root. 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 jawbone to your skull, allowing you to open and close your mouth. Disorders of this joint can cause:
- Pain and soreness of the teeth or jaw
- Headaches & Earaches
- Clicking, popping, or locking of the jaw
- Tooth grinding
- Numbness of the fingers
Aside from affecting your quality of life, some symptoms, including teeth 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 teeth grinding, which may contribute to implant failure. If you show signs of tooth grinding, we can discuss ways to prevent it.
Can Dental Implants Improve TMJ/TMD
Dental implant treatment may significantly improve TMJ/TMD and prevent it from happening over other restorative tooth replacement methods. In addition, because dental implants are anchored to 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 Benefits of Dental Implants On 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 collect 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, leading to a deterioration of the bone. In addition, the otherwise healthy teeth next to a lost tooth can weaken, increasing the risk that they, too, will be lost.
Schedule A Consultation At Brian McDowell, DDS
Call our Fitchburg dentist at 978-252-2049 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Brian McDowell. With our over 30 years of advanced training, we treat many patient for TMJ from Fitchburg, Leominster, Westminster, Lunenburg, MA and many surrounding areas.