Is Invisalign Appropriate for Jaw Alignment Treatment?

I'm told my jaw is out of alignment and the dentist wants me to do Invisalign.  Will that help?  It will take all my savings but all I know is that it hurts to eat and I'm tired of my jaw popping out and tired of the headaches.  

Doctor Answers 6

Is Invisalign Appropriate for Jaw Alignment Treatment?

I will definitely do a little bit more research! Almost all your symptoms can be taken care of if you look into TMD or most common called TMJ.Many people who suffer from headaches, chronic neck or facial pain, or even ringing in the ears do not know that their bite may be to blame. Only a trained neuromuscular dentist can tell if an incorrect bite is causing these problems. Our state-of-the-art application of neuromuscular techniques can help relieve such pain, and the results are often immediate, dramatic, and life-changing!. The bite can be a factor in many types of pain or functional problems because of the inter-relationship of the overall musculoskeletal system.

Since there is a relationship between the teeth, jaw joints, head and neck muscles, and head posture, a problem in any one of these areas may affect others. It is suspected that you suffer from this type of problem and treating your TMD first will be your best shot .

Fairfax Dentist

Invisalign is not predictable when dealing with jaw alignment

TMJ issues are complicated and if treated orthodontically then traditional brackets and wires have more control. Often the bite issues are resolved first and once stable (3-6 months of stability), the orthodontics can be started. Invisalign usually is not effective in these cases, and the relationship between orthodontics and jaw dysfunction is hotly debated.  If you  are reporting no pain and are just being told your jaw is not aligned, I would suggest another opinion just to be safe.

Lance Timmerman, DMD, MAGD
Seattle Dentist
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

You jaw joints (TMJ)should be symptom free before starting Invisalign treatment...

My opinion with this matter is that your TMJs should by symptom free before starting any irreversible changes to your bite, due to the fact that initiating orthodontic changes , regardless of Invisalign, in an unhealthy joint may actually make your symptoms worse.  

What does syptom free mean? In my practice, if a patients has reduced opening of their jaws, pain in their joints (sometimes expressed as headaches, ringing in the ears, etc), or locking of their jaw, then they have to go through an initial phase of treatment of palliative therapy to alleviate their symptoms.  This phase of treatment also serves as a diagnostic tool for us, letting us know if your symptoms are caused by your potential "bad bite" , or if we need to look into something further beyond your bite as MANY things may cause TMJ pain.

Mazyar Moshiri, DMD, MS
Saint Louis Orthodontist

Fix TMJ Dysfuncion first, then correct the alignment with braces or Invisalign

Ignoring the TMJ Dysfunction to straighten the teeth can be a big mistake.  Make sure you  consult with a dentist with a great deal of experience in  correcting jaw misalignments.  Once the misalignment is corrected and stabilized for a number of months (at least 6 months) with symptoms 90% eliminated, then the straightening of your teeth is appropriate.  You now do this knowing that you now have healthy stable jaw joints to support the new teeth positions.  You wouldn't want to build a house on shaky foundation, would you?  Neither do you want to correct a bite with the jaw joints out of alignment.  You will likely end up with straight teeth and painful jaws and be faced with more years of retreatment to correct the ignored TMJ problem.

Kent Lauson, DDS, MS
Denver Orthodontist

Jaw out of alignment

The relationship between the  "bite" and TMJ (popping jaws, headaches, etc.) has always been very controversial!  No one can promise that fixing the bite will correct your problems...maybe yes maybe no, but the scientific literature does not show a clear relationship between bite and TMJ....I certainly would get a 2nd or even a 3rd opinion before starting treatment.

Robert Waxler, DMD, MS
Saint Louis Orthodontist

TMJ and Invisalign

Hi, the answer is absolutely DO NOT move forward with Invisalign when you have TMJ, especially symptomatic TMJ.  Firstly, Invisalign in and of itself will do nothing to relieve your symptoms.  Secondly, changing your occlusion without the dentist first gathering extensive diagnostic information is very likely to worsen your symptoms.  Lastly, with all due respect to your dentist, it sounds like he/she knows nothing about TMJ.  Not really surprising because its not a topic really covered in dental school, it is incredibly complex, and its treatment is quite controversial in the dental community for unfortunate political reasons.  You and your dentist have no idea what type to TMJ problem you have.  Get to a dentist who's practice is solely dedicated to TMJ or has a large TMJ component.  Ask them how much continuing education they have in TMJ and craniofacial pain.  If they can't prove 300 or more hours of training in just TMJ, move on.  Do yourself a favor, find the right practiioner and get yourself out of pain!

Stephen Sulzbach, DMD
Norristown Dentist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.