The Role of The Bite in TMJ Disorders

BACKGROUND

The way the teeth fit together in the bite has long been recognized as a central factor in TMJ disorders.  TMJ disorders were first discovered when people who had no teeth experienced dramatic relief of their symptoms after getting dentures.  Since then there have been hundreds of clinical reports published by reputable dentists detailing how TMJ disorder symptoms in their patients have been altered by permanently or temporarily changing the patient’s bite.  Even minute changes to the contour of the bite platform can cause TMJ disorder symptoms experimentally.  In one provocation study, fillings that were intentionally left only 1/4 mm high caused typical TMJ disorder symptoms, some of which persisted for months after the high filling was removed. 
 
The way the teeth fit together in the bite affects the TMJs, because it determines the location of the lower jawbone and therefore also the location of the balls (condyles) in the sockets of the TMJs during bracing and chewing.  It also affects the jaw muscles, because it determines the height and contours of the template against which the jaw muscles exercise. 
If the lower jawbone needs to twist or torque to fit the teeth together, both jaw muscles and TMJs can be put under strain.