Can I Get Invisalign if I Have TMJ or TMD Problems?

I am almost ready to go ahead and start using Invisalign. The only thing stopping me is my issue with TMJ/TMD. Am I still a good candidate for Invisalign? My Orthodonist says it should be no problem but I have had problems in the past with different appliances (expander?)that have locked my jaw and stopped me from proceeding to braces. I don't want to find out many trays into treatment and lots of money lost that again I can't do something. I almost ready just to do veneers, I just hate filing down good teeth. I have several teeth on top/front that are crooked. I just can't decide what to do. If I knew I'd have no problems I would proceed with the Invisalign ASAP!!

Doctor Answers 5

TMJ treatment followed by Invisalign

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We treat many people with problems like yours.  We find a bite position for you that is comfortable and relieves your TMJ symptoms utilizing an neuromuscular orthotic (a piece of acrylic that snaps on your bottom teeth giving you a new bite).  We then go to Phase II Invisalign and move your teeth to that comfortable position.

Start conservatively

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Invisalign does not recommend treating individuals with TMJ/TMD. However, I believe the decision to treat or not to treat should be based on the severity of your TMJ/TMD. This is why you should see your orthodontist and get his/her opinion.

What we recommend in our office is to start with upper Invisalign only for a period of two to three months and to see if any TMD problems occur. Usually if a patient is fine, then we continue with lower Invisalign treatment. If the patient is not fine, then we continue with upper treatment only or decide to end treatment.

Please realize that during any type of orthodontic treatment, braces and/or Invisalign there may be periods of time where you may experience some TMJ/TMD symptoms. These symptons, fortunately, usually will subside.

Tony Cucalon III DDS
San Francisco Orthodontist

Invisalign and TMJ

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TMJ is another name for temporomandibular (joint) disorder. Often your TMJ condition will be aggravated by appliances such as Invisalign. You need to find the cause of your TMJ symptoms, whether it be your bite, or problems with the joint itself. I would then suggest you find a dentist who can adjust your bite. A simple appliance called the Best Bite Discluder is inexpensive and works right away. You will immediately know if the problem is your bite. Then I would suggest you see an Invisalign-trained dentist.

Robert Fields, DDS
Van Nuys Dentist

There are no guarantees in life

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The odds of Invisalign being a problem for the TMJ's are low, but still there. Similar to the expander you already tried, there WILL be pressure and expansion. Since the teeth will be covered up completely and unable to bite against each other, you may find that the jaws won't lock up like before. But they might. TMJ issues are unpredictable and what works uneventfully for some may not work uneventfully for others.

Veneers are a great way to improve your smile, even with crooked teeth. Veneers can be more conservative if the teeth are lined up properly, so if you have crooked teeth in the front, braces/Invisalign may significantly help (by itself or combined with veneers).

Ask your dentist if the some of the investment for Invisalign could be applied towards the veneers if Invisalign proves impossible. If you are dealing with two providers (one for Invisalign and one for veneers) then that is likely not an option.

Most of the TMJ problems are not serious enough to prevent from Invisalign treatment.

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Most of the TMJ problems are not serious enough to prevent from Invisalign treatment. Moreover, Invisalign in general is more "forgiving" for TMJ problems compare to other kinds of orthodontic treatments.

Victoria Olshansky, DDS
Los Angeles 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.