If you have TMJ, you could be at a higher risk of cracked teeth. TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is a condition that affects the jaw joint. Due to a number of factors, the joints or muscles develop a dysfunction. This means that you may experience pain when opening and closing your mouth. Dental health isn’t about individual issues. There is an intricate web of connections between different oral issues, including cracked teeth and TMJ.
Cracked Teeth: A Delicate Predicament
There are many different things that can cause a cracked tooth. Some don’t even have a connection with TMJ. For example, you may bite into an unexpectedly hard surface, which breaks your tooth. Additionally, you may experience dental trauma.
Other influences include grinding or clenching your teeth. This is a condition known as bruxism. Many people grind or clench their teeth in their sleep due to stress or anxiety. Over time, grinding can weaken the integrity of your teeth. As a result, you may be more susceptible to cracked teeth. Molars, which endure the most pressure while chewing, are often susceptible to cracks.
The Role of TMJ
The jaw joint is responsible for the movement and function of your jaw. If there is a deformity or malfunction, you cannot use your mouth properly. For example, you may have difficulty chewing or even speaking.
When you have a TMJ disorder, it can lead to a misalignment of your jaw. This can increase uneven pressure on teeth while chewing. If you have an uneven biting force, it can contribute to the formation or worsening of cracks.
One of the causes of TMJ is teeth grinding. Additionally, one of the causes of teeth grinding is TMJ. This means that having one condition can lead to another. They can also make each other worse. TMJ-related stress and clenching can exert unnecessary pressure on teeth. As a result, they may be more prone to cracking.
Furthermore, cracked teeth can exacerbate TMJ issues. This is because it creates more stress on the jaw while biting and chewing. Conversely, jaw misalignment due to TMJ can worsen existing cracks or lead to new ones.
Symptoms and Signs
If you have a cracked tooth, you will likely know. For example, you may have sharp pain when chewing your food. Extreme temperatures (hot or cold) can cause sensitive pain in your tooth. Even just biting down can cause pain or discomfort. This is because a cracked tooth means that you have a break in your enamel. When this occurs, sensations move through to your nerves much faster, causing pain.
You may have more difficulty identifying the symptoms of TMJ. One of the mild symptoms is a popping or clicking sensation when opening or closing your mouth. While this may not cause pain, it will likely worsen over time. Many people with TMJ experience pain in their jaw. This could be due to muscle tension or even joint inflammation. Finally, TMJ is known to cause headaches.