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Can TMJ move teeth?

May 23, 2024

Are you worried because your teeth are not lining up correctly these days? If yes, you may be suffering from temporomandibular joint (TMJ). But can TMJ move teeth? The TMJ is used to describe a number of conditions that impact the temporomandibular joint, cause damage to it, or inflame it.

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a joint that connects your lower jaw to the upper jaw and skull. A damaged or swollen TMJ causes headaches, pain, or clicking noises when the jaw is moved. 

But can TMJ move teeth? Here is what you must be aware of regarding teeth-shifting and grinding problems. Let us first understand the connection between TMJ, disorders, and disorder shifting.

Link Between TMJ Disorder and Teeth Shifting

It is easy to determine whether a person is suffering from TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder makes it appear that a person's teeth are not lining up correctly due to misalignment in the jaw. Once the misalignment is seen, a vicious cycle occurs: the damage causes inflammation, which again causes more damage. But don't worry, as the lower jaw splint is used to fix the problem by keeping the jaw aligned.

It is believed that sometimes wisdom teeth also contribute to the problem of shifting teeth. If your wisdom teeth grow while you are suffering from TMJ, it is helpful to have them removed. Sometimes, this is enough to solve the problem, but a lower jaw splint may still be used.

What are the Causes of TMJ problems?

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, also known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD), can arise from various causes. Some of them are given below:

Injury or Trauma

An injury to the jaw, head, or neck from a car accident, a sports injury, or a fall can damage TMJ or surrounding issues. 

Sometimes, a forceful movement of the head and neck can strain or injure your neck.


Osteoarthritis causes wear down of the cartilage and leads to TMJ pain and dysfunction.

Rheumatoid Arthritis causes inflammation of the joint and TMJ that leads to pain and limited movement.


Grinding and clenching teeth while sleeping put extra pressure on the TMJ and surrounding muscles, which causes pain and dysfunction.

Misalignment of Jaw

When the upper and lower teeth do not fit together nicely, extra pressure is put on the TMJ, which causes pain and dysfunction.

Misaligned teeth or jaw because of delayed orthodontic treatment can stress the TMJ.

Stress and Muscle Tension

Stress and anxiety cause muscle tension in the jaw, neck, and shoulders and lead to TMJ problems.

Common habits like chewing gum, nail-biting, or leaning on the jaw can strain the TMJ.

Connective Tissue Disorders

A group of connective tissue disorders cause hypermobility and instability in the TMJ, further leading to pain and dysfunction.

Dental Issues

Teeth loss results in changes in bite and jaw alignment and puts extra pressure on TMJ.

Sometimes, poorly fitting dental restorations like dental crowns and bridges change the bite and affect the TMJ.

Structural Problems

The disc within the TMJ can become displaced or dislocated, causing pain, clicking, and restricted jaw movement.

Congenital or acquired deformities of the jaw bones affect the function of the TMJ.

What are the factors that contribute to TMJ problems?

Here are some factors that contribute to TMJ problems:


Women develop TMJ problems due to hormonal factors that affect joint and muscle function.


TMJ is common in individuals between the ages of 20 and 40.


If someone has a family history of TMJ disorder or related conditions, it can increase the risk.

Relation between Teeth Grinding and TMJ disorder

The relationship between bruxism (teeth grinding) and TMJ disorder is very complicated. For some people, grinding their teeth increases their risk of having problems with their jaw joints. For others, it leads to jaw clenching.

Bruxism damages teeth, increasing the chance of having TMJ disorder. You may be grinding your teeth without being aware, yet you may be experiencing a sore jaw, shifting teeth, or other symptoms. Regular teeth grinding changes the way the top and bottom teeth fit together.

Tips to Prevent TMJ Disorder

  • Regular dental check-ups to monitor changes in teeth alignment and jaw health
  • Early diagnosis and treatment for bite problems or teeth misalignment
  • Treatment of bruxism to prevent pressure on teeth and the TMJ
  • Maintenance of good dental hygiene to prevent any gum disease


Can TMJ move Teeth? Teeth shifting and TMJ are connected and require a multifaceted approach for effective management. If the TMJ problem is detected early, you can prevent long-term complications and maintain your oral health.

Worried About Shifting Teeth or TMJ?

If you suspect TMJ is causing your teeth to move or if you're experiencing jaw pain, don't wait to seek help. At Quality Sleep Solutions in Summerville, SC, we specialize in diagnosing and treating TMJ disorders. Book an appointment online or call us at (843) 380-8945 to start your journey towards better oral health and comfort.


TMJ disorders lead to muscle imbalances and changes in jaw alignment, which places uneven pressure on teeth. After some time, it can cause teeth to shift from their original positions.

Signs of TMJ include changes in your bite, increased gaps or crowding between teeth, popping sounds in the jaw, jaw pain, and difficulty chewing.

If TMJ disorder is treated, it stabilizes your jaw alignment, reduces muscle tension, and prevents further movement of your teeth. Effective treatment may include oral appliances, physical therapy, or other interventions your healthcare provider recommends.

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