Popping Jaws Are Miserable – The “TMJ” Syndrome.

When bone shrinks under your dentures the plate settles down and presses into the soft gums causing sore spots such as you have been experiencing. This also infringes on facial and lip muscles and these force the teeth to wobble, loosen, and clack. The loss of bone support causes more and more closure of the lower jaw against the upper. In as much as one’s lower jaw cannot move backward because of its hinge joint, it can only protrude; stick out in the front, resulting in that sunken and aged look.

Vitamins won’t stop the soreness, but an adequate intake of them is essential to good tissue health. It is surprising and shocking to dentists how many people suffer sore spots under the dentures for weeks and weeks and even many months. This is like going around with a pebble in your shoe. Dentists can readily adjust the dentures to eliminate the soreness problem.

Some take their teeth out and go toothless rather than put up with discomfort. I often have to remind these patients that when they have a flat tire on their car they get it fixed; they certainly don’t put the car in the garage. Mastication of three meals a a day is even more important than an automobile.

For the Dr. Wical investigation oyster shells and vitamin D were used to supply calcium. I suggest my denture patients take a good bone meal or calcium lactate supplement along with cod liver oil capsules for their vitamin D (necessary for calcium utilization). A good quality multiple vitamin, mineral tablet that includes amino acids (protein), should be used because artificial teeth, particularly in those with severe shrinkage, just do not masticate food like natural teeth.

I often have patients use calcium lactate as many people have high phosphorus levels. While we need sufficient phosphorus to utilize calcium, the body obtains what is needed for other purposes by withdrawal from bones. High phosphorus not only causes osteoporosis bone loss, but so does sugar, caffeine products, and alcohol. Soft drinks and lecithin are high phosphorus containing substances.

When phosphorus intakes are too low,increased dietary use of meat,fish,and 100% whole grains is encouraged. Many people who have had to replace their natural teeth teeth with dentures feel they can avoid all the rules of good eating… now they can eat all the candy and sweets their hearts desire. Unfortunately those gums and bony ridges also depend on good eating for their strength and health. Being an edentulous cripple is therefore more nutritionally demanding and essential than it ever was before the teeth were lost if good oral and general health are to be maintained.

When sever shrinkage of the gums has taken place and faces have collapsed and become old looking, patients should return to their dentist, as much can be accomplished in restoring normal appearance by relining old dentures or making new ones.

Popping Jaws are Miserable. My jaws almost always are popping and clicking. It’s so bad my family can hear it when we are eating. I also have earaches and headaches quite often. Could these be causing the trouble? My doctor can’t find anything wrong with my ears and the best he can do is give me tranquilizers and pain pills which don’t help a bit. My neighbor suggested vitamins. This doesn’t seem sensible but I thought you would know. S.L.

Dear S.L.: This is a dental problem that involves the joint of your jaw. In effect it is like a sprained ankle. Instead you have a sprained jaw. your foot can be taped or put in a cast and along with crutches, these help give the ankle joint rest and time to heal. A talking, eating, always swallowing mouth is rather hard to place at rest. We swallow once a minute while awake and every two minutes during sleep.

The sprained jaw can be caused by injury from accidents or by degeneration, but 95% of the time the condition is caused by teeth that do not come together properly. Technically we call this malocclusion and the jaw problem the “Temporo- Mandibular Joint” syndrome. (T.M.J.) Teeth may appear very straight, well aligned and even beautiful to look at and still be out of relationship with one another when closing to bite and chew.

Copyright (c) 2007 Sung Lee, and George Meinig D.D.S