Connection Between Thyroid and TMJ

Jun 02, 2022

Weight gain, muscle weakness, and fatigue, among other symptoms, indicate that your thyroid gland is out of whack. But did you know that the thyroid gland could affect your oral health? Did you also know that there is a connection between your thyroid and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)?

You might be battling jaw pain which could be debilitating and can make simple tasks such as chewing, talking, and yawning daunting tasks. What could be worse is you not having a clue what is causing the jaw pain. Therefore, seeking our TMJ providers near you could be the best thing to do.  

The thyroid has many functions, and if it is not at its best, your TMJ could be affected. That’s why our Anchorage dentist encourages our patients always to seek immediate care.

In any case, let’s unpack a thing or two about TMJ, the thyroid, and their connection.

TMJ, In a Nutshell

The temporomandibular joint is a mouthful, but the joint is a vital joint that is located on either side of your jaw. It functions as a sliding hinge, linking your lower jawbone to your skull. The TMJ enables the jaw’s side to side and up and down movements to facilitate various actions such as talking, yawning, laughing, and eating.

The TMJ could be injured or inflamed to cause a condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). You might have come across people mistakenly referring to the disorder as TMJ. TMJ is the acronym for the joint and not the disease.

Signs that your TMJ could be at whack are:

  • Popping sounds
  • Stuck jaws
  • Trouble chewing
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Swelling on both sides of the face
  • Uncomfortable bite
  • Tenderness in your face, neck, shoulders and jaw

About the Thyroid

The thyroid gland is a tiny organ with several functions and is located in your neck, wrapped around your trachea (windpipe). The thyroid has a butterfly shape, smaller in the middle and has two broad wings that extend on either side of your throat.

Even though the thyroid is a tiny organ, it releases various hormones essential for controlling several vital functions in your body.

When the thyroid is not working correctly, your whole body will be affected. If the body secretes too much thyroid hormone, you will develop hyperthyroidism. If the converse happens and your body produces less of the hormone, you will develop hypothyroidism. In both cases, your body will be affected negatively.

Thyroid disease refers to a scenario where your thyroid cannot synthesize the right amount of hormones to keep your body functioning well. Thyroid disease affects anyone, including kids, men, women, the elderly, and teenagers.

How Are They Linked?

The thyroid hormones are vital for skeletal development, linear growth, and the maintenance of adult bone mass. The adult bones are maintained by being remodelled to give the skeleton a chance to grow and repair. Some of the bones will be dissolved to replace them with new bones.

The intricate balance of bone dissolution and replacement at several molecular levels could be disrupted if there is under-or overproduction of the thyroid hormones.

Hyperthyroidism (high levels of thyroid hormones) can result in rapid bone loss, and the new bone might not be as strong as the older bone. If this continues to happen, it might lead to osteoporosis.

Hypothyroidism (low levels of thyroid hormones) can result in slow bone metabolism, meaning the new bone might not form on time. Therefore, there could be a chance that your bones might wear more than usual.

So, if these issues occur, your TMJ could be affected, and it might explain why you might be experiencing jaw pain and other symptoms related to TMD.

What Treatments Options Are Available?

The brilliant thing to do would be to visit our Anchorage dentist to get your TMJ checked. At least you may receive the help you need to help you deal with symptoms associated with TMD. Some of the treatments that you will receive include:

  • Anti-inflammatories and pain medication to reduce the inflammation and pain
  • Tricyclic antidepressants to control bruxism and alleviate pain
  • Muscle relaxants to deal with muscle spasms
  • Mouthguards or oral splints to help jaw movement
  • Injections
  • Surgery

However, if TMD is caused by thyroid disease, the best course of action would be to deal with the thyroid issue while using the treatments dealing with TMD.

In any case, our dentist is in a better position to help you. Contact us for general dentistry in Anchorage and TMD treatment at Anchorage Dental Arts.