About 10 million Americans are currently dealing with a TMJ disorder, which can include unpleasant symptoms like chronic jaw pain, teeth grinding, headaches/migraines, and even lockjaw. There are many non-invasive ways to treat this condition, but one that isn’t discussed often is Invisalign. While it’s well known that the clear aligners can greatly enhance the appearance of the smile, for many patients, it’s exactly what they need to achieve a comfortable and pain-free life.
What Exactly is “TMJ”?
If you place your fingers right in front of your ears and move your jaw from side to side, you’ll feel two little hinges. These make up your TMJ, or temporomandibular joint. It connects your jaw to the rest of your skull and is essential to your ability to eat, speak, laugh, and yawn.
If the joint becomes strained, injured, or dysfunctional, the resulting condition is sometimes simply referred to as TMJ. Or, it can also be called a TMJ disorder, or TMD.
What Causes TMJ/TMD?
Factors like daily stress, an injury to the jaw, and arthritis are all common causes, but another prominent one is a misaligned bite. When the teeth don’t come together properly while the mouth is closed or someone is chewing, this prevents the TMJ and nearby muscles from functioning properly. As a result, the muscles overwork, and the joint is exposed to excess pressure as it tries to force the bite into the right position. In addition to creating the symptoms we touched on earlier, the muscle tension created by TMJ can easily radiate into the head and neck as well, leading to more widespread pain.
So, for many patients, the most effective way to treat their TMJ pain doesn’t involve doing anything directly to the joint, but rather correcting the bite. This is where Invisalign can help.
How Invisalign Can Treat TMJ
When used by a highly trained orthodontist, Invisalign cannot only adjust the individual teeth to create a more attractive smile, but it can also reorient the entire bite. By helping the teeth line up, the bite force can be evenly distributed across both dental arches. This will allow the TMJ muscles to relax, and the joint won’t constantly be strained whenever someone uses their mouth. Relatively quickly, any teeth grinding and soreness should subside, meaning the patient will enjoy days free of jaw pain and headaches.
Invisalign has already helped countless patients put their TMJ pain behind them, and it can easily do the same for you. All you need to do is schedule an appointment with an orthodontist to take your first step toward lifelong relief.
About the Author
Dr. Jeffrey Shirck is a board-certified orthodontist based in the Columbus area. An Elite Invisalign Provider since 2017, he has used this treatment to help several patients overcome their TMJ problems to improve their appearance and quality of life at the same time. To see if Invisalign is exactly what you need to stop your pain for good, contact Shirck Orthodontics today to schedule a FREE in-person consultation.