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Can Invisalign® Alleviate TMJ Pain?

By Dr. Dan Whiting on October 12, 2017

Invisalign® alignerTMJ disorder, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is a condition that results when the jaw becomes irritated or swollen. There are several potential causes of TMJ disorder, and one of them is misaligned teeth. When the teeth and jaw are out of alignment, it places extra stress on the jaw, which can lead to inflammation. TMJ disorder that is caused by malocclusion problems can be addressed with orthodontic treatment to straighten the teeth and improve the bite.

Invisalign® aligners apply pressure to the teeth to gradually shift them into their proper alignment while correcting the position of the bite. Invisalign® is a popular orthodontic treatment because it is as effective as traditional braces, but much more discreet and convenient. Those who have questions about Invisalign® for TMJ disorder should contact our Harrisonburg, VA dental practice, Smiles for Life, to learn whether this teeth-straightening treatment can free them from the pain associated with TMJ disorder.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder prevents the jaw from moving properly. Individuals with TMJ disorder may be unable to open their mouth or shift their jaw from side-to-side. As a result of this dysfunction, those who do have TMJ disorder may experience some pain or discomfort when they chew, speak, or yawn. In addition to oral pain, patients with TMJ disorder may experience any combination of the following symptoms:

  • Lock jaw (when the jaw becomes stuck in the open or closed position)
  • A popping noise when the jaw opens wide
  • Facial pain or headaches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Swelling around the face and jaw

TMJ Disorder and Crooked Teeth

Again, there are many potential causes of TMJ disorder, but misalignment of the teeth and jaw is one of the most common. If the jaw is not aligned properly, it faces undue stress every time a person bites, chews, or opens the mouth to speak, eat, or yawn.  In addition, crooked teeth throw the bite off balance and often cause patients to subconsciously clench or grind their teeth, both of which place excessive force on the teeth and jaw. All this extra stress can cause inflammation in the temporomandibular joint, which further irritates the jaw joint and results in pain or discomfort.

Invisalign® for TMJ Disorder

Invisalign® treatment can correct many of the same malocclusion problems as traditional braces, including crooked teeth, overlapping teeth, overbite, and underbite. By addressing these malocclusion problems, we can ease stress on the temporomandibular joint and reduce (or eliminate) inflammation.

The results of Invisalign® treatment allow the jaw to function properly and comfortably. The average length of Invisalign® treatment is 12 to 18 months, which is also comparable to braces. However, Invisalign® offers several benefits that are unique to this orthodontic technique, including the following:

  • Invisalign® aligners are virtually invisible
  • The plastic Invisalign® aligners do not irritate the soft tissues of the mouth the way metal brackets and wires can
  • Invisalign® aligners can be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing

Schedule an Appointment

If you are suffering from the symptoms of TMJ disorder, you may benefit from Invisalign® treatment. To learn more about Invisalign® and its applications for TMJ disorder, schedule an appointment with one of our experienced dentists at Smiles for Life at your earliest convenience.

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