can Invisalign fix TMJ - woman putting clear aligners in mouth

Can Invisalign Fix TMJ Disorders?

Jaw pain got you down? You could have a TMJ disorder, a condition that affects the mobility of your jaw. Depending on what’s causing your pain, correcting the alignment of your teeth might help. Let’s explore this topic a little further, and discuss whether Invisalign can fix TMJ disorders. 

What Is a TMJ Disorder?

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are located on either side of the face, near the temples, and they connect the jaw bone to the skull. These joints act like hinges, and they allow you to open and close your mouth. 

TMJ disorders can be caused by a variety of factors, including arthritis, stress, injury, teeth grinding, and even misaligned teeth. A TMJ disorder can refer to any type of TMJ dysfunction.

Symptoms of TMJ disorders include:

  • Jaw pain or stiffness
  • Your jaw getting stuck in the open or closed position
  • Clicking or popping sounds when moving your jaw
  • Ringing in your ears or earaches
  • Neck or shoulder pain
  • Frequent headaches
  • Changes in your bite
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Facial swelling
  • Toothaches

Correcting Your Bite with Invisalign

Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that can straighten your teeth and realign your bite. Invisalign can fix a variety of bite issues, including overbites, underbites, open bites, and crossbites. The treatment can also fix crowded and gapped teeth.

Treatment consists of wearing clear, virtually invisible trays that are customized to fit your mouth comfortably while gradually transforming your smile. You must wear the aligners for around 22 hours each day, removing them before eating or drinking anything other than water. Then, after a week or so, you switch to a new tray with a slightly altered fit to shift your bite alignment. 

Can Invisalign Fix TMJ Disorders?

Whether or not Invisalign can correct a TMJ disorder will depend on whether or not a bite issue is the cause of your TMJ pain. Invisalign can fix many types of bite problems, which can fix a bite-related TMJ disorder. However, Invisalign cannot help with causes of TMJ disorders that do not involve the mouth, such as arthritis or stress. 

A misaligned bite can also cause bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching). Grinding or clenching your teeth tires your jaw and causes pain. Bruxism also puts extreme pressure on your teeth, which can shift them further out of place. 

Invisalign can help reduce bruxism symptoms and relieve TMJ pain by gradually straightening your teeth. However, it’s important to discuss your teeth grinding with your dentist before beginning Invisalign treatment, as the pressure from bruxism could damage your aligners.  

How to Relieve TMJ Pain

There are a few ways you can find relief from TMJ pain at home while you undergo Invisalign or another form of TMJ treatment. Home remedies include:

  • Applying hot or cold compresses to the side of your face for 10 minutes at a time
  • Avoiding extreme jaw movements such as yawning, yelling, and chewing big bites of food 
  • Eating soft foods to avoid putting more pressure on your jaw than necessary
  • Taking over-the-counter pain medication, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen
  • Gently exercising and massaging your jaw
  • Relaxing through meditation, yoga, or exercise

Invisalign Treatment in Gilbert, Arizona

If you’re experiencing TMJ pain due to dental problems, Invisalign could be right for you. At Lifetime Family Dental, we can help you restore your smile and find relief from TMJ with effective Invisalign treatment. After examining your mouth, we can let you know whether Invisalign can fix your TMJ issues. Call us at 480-558-4331 today to schedule an Invisalign consultation. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/11/2023). Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash