Developing temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is one of the risks of missing one or more teeth and not replacing them with dental implants or another restoration as soon as possible. The temporomandibular joints are what enable your jaw to open and close to eat, speak, and perform several other functions. Pain in the jaw, neck, or facial muscles is often one of the first indications of a problem. Other common symptoms include headache, cracking or popping sounds when opening your mouth, and ear pain.
One reason that the risk of TMJ increases with missing teeth is that the latter can cause misalignment of the jaw bones. However, it is not the only reason people develop this condition. Stress, unconscious grinding of teeth, and hereditary factors are some other common reasons. If you currently have TMJ and you are considering dental implants, you probably wonder how this oral surgery will affect you. The oral surgeons at Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery are happy to let you know that dental implants can help to improve the pain and other symptoms associated with TMJ.
Correcting Your Tooth Alignment with Dental Implants
The longer you have lived with missing teeth, the more likely it is that your jaw is out of alignment. Pain resulting from minor to severe is the typical result when your jaw and the surrounding muscles fail to work together. When you are missing teeth, it places added stress on your facial muscles, which in turn causes improper opening and closing of your jaw.
Replacing each of your missing teeth with an implant restores proper alignment, making it one potential treatment option for TMJ. The first step in receiving dental implants is to schedule an appointment for a consultation. During this session, your oral surgeon will explain the process to you as well as take X-rays and an impression of your jaw and teeth. He will also answer your questions about treating your TMJ with dental implants.
What to Expect from the Dental Implant Process
If you decide to pursue implants, your oral surgeon will drill a titanium rod into your jawbone that replaces the roots from your missing tooth. This is one of the most important factors to increase jawbone stability and improve TMJ symptoms. The rod eventually fuses with your existing roots in a process called osseointegration. It takes approximately three months for this to occur. You can wear a temporary denture or crown in the meantime to disguise the tooth loss.
You will come to Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery a few times for your oral surgeon to check on the status of your healing. Once he is certain it has occurred, it is time to receive your new replacement tooth. It is at this point that you should notice the greatest pain relief due to misalignment of your jaw.
Could This Be the Right Solution for You?
Our oral surgery practice is the only one of its kind in Georgia that has received certification from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. You can feel confident in knowing that you are working with experts in dental implants. Please contact your local office if you would like to learn more.