TMJ pain when eating has gradually become more noticable in the past few years. In this time I've had a number of crowns placed and my wisdom teeeth extracted. My teeth have always been crowded and difficult to floss. Now over 50, has the lifetime of wear, fillings, crowns, and movement of my teeth changed to introduce TMJ mis-alignment that could be corrected with invisalign?
Can Invisalign Relieve TMJ Pain?
Doctor Answers 5
Invisalign and TMJ
Short answer: I have had patients experience relief from TMJ while doing Invisalign.
Long answer: TMJ is an inexact science like back pain. There is so much going on there it's often hard to pin point cause and effect relationships.
If a patient comes to my practice experience TMJ pain we will treat that first before anything else. This usually takes 2-6months to get their jaws relaxed and functioning healthy.
I personally never had any TMJ symptoms until I was in Invisalign. My symptoms were temporary and mild but I found my trays cause me to grind more and increase my jaw tenderness and popping. Others experience the exact opposite. They find the trays are enough to prevent them from clenching and working those muscles while they sleep.
No matter the case keep talking to your doc.
Invisalign can help TMJ
We treat many patients with TMJ symptoms with Invisalign; however, our practice will initiate an initial phase with a bite orthotic in order to get the patient symptom free.
For many patients, when their bite "relaxes" in the orthotic, the positioning of the teeth relative to each other will change, and thus, their treatment with Invisalign will be towards achieving a bite for them in their symptom free position.
There are several ways to treat TMJ, and your orthodontist will let you know what they believe is best for you. But generally speaking, you would want to address your symptoms first before initiating any permanent changes to your bite.
Invisalign CAN help with TMJ
But mostly as a coincidence and not a goal. Often when treating TMJ issues via orthodontics, teeth need to be extruded. Invisalign does not do this action very well.
Some people have reported that their TMJ situation improved after Invisalign, but that was not a goal at the beginning of treatment.
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Can Invisalign Cure TMJ?
There are many causes (and therefore many remedies) of TMJ. While some TMJ symptoms may be related to the bite, most are not. As an orthodontist since 1991, I have see the worst bites in the world. Ironically, very few report TMJ symptoms. On the other hand, patients with perfect bites will occasionally come to my office seeking treatment for their TMJ pain. If your dentist is absolutely sure that you have a bite problem that is unquestionably related to your TMJ, you may get some relief from Invisalign treatment. Generally however, I would recommend that you only undergo orthodontic treatment for bite, hygiene, and cosmetic reasons and not specifically for joint problems.
Invisalign & TMJ
Whether or not Invisalign can relieve TMJ pain depends on the initial cause. If the TMJ pain is due to the crowding of the teeth trapping the jaw too far backward everytime you open and close or chew your foods, then their is a chance that alleviating that crowding and allowing the jaw to move a little further down and forward will help alleviate some TMJ symptoms. However if the jaw is too far backward due to the incorrect devopment of the bones involved, then splint therapy with removable appliances or in some cases surgery would be the appropriate method of treatment. Invisalign could still play a role in repositioning the teeth and used as an adjunct after successful splint therapy or surgery.