Your jaw is a well-connected and intricately designed machine, the various parts of your mouth must work in tandem, and if one component is afflicted with issues, inflammation, or disease, your entire oral health may be in jeopardy. For instance, advanced periodontitis attacks your gums and jawbone which can result in the loss of one or more teeth if left untreated. Similarly, disorders which affect the function of your mouth can have a negative impact on your teeth and their supporting structures.
It’s all in the Joint
While the focus of your day-to-day hygiene routine (i.e., brushing and flossing) is to keep your teeth and gums healthy, your regular dental exams allow Dr. Ryan Hussong to ensure that your mouth continues to operate properly, as well. A major component of your mouth’s function is the alignment of your teeth and jaw, which is largely dictated by your temporomandibular joints (TMJs). Located just in front of each ear, these joints (and the muscles which surround them) connect your lower jaw to your skull. As sliding joints (rather than ball-and-socket joints) your TMJs are designed to evenly distribute the over-200 pounds of pressure which your bite exerts. This minimizes damage to the rest of your oral structures.
TMJ Disorder and Periodontal Health
While the connection may not be immediately apparent, there is a distinct link between distressed jaw joints and your periodontal health. TMJ disorder (TMD) is commonly intertwined with bruxism (clenching and grinding your teeth). Chronic teeth grinding can result from muscle spasms or unconscious attempts by your jaw to reposition itself for comfort. Simultaneously, bruxism can exacerbate the symptoms of TMD by adding more stress to your jaw muscles. The constant pressure can also excessively wear your teeth and exhaust the gum tissue that supports them, leading to premature gum recession and significantly increased risk of developing periodontitis.
Visit your West Des Moines Dentist
To learn more about how hormones affect oral health, or to request an appointment with Dr. Ryan Hussong, contact Cornerstone Dental Group at (515) 984-6001. We welcome patients of all ages living in Ames, Ankeny, Alleman, Grimes, West Des Moines, and the surrounding areas.