Invisalign is a comfortable and customized orthodontic treatment that utilizes clear aligners to gradually reposition your teeth for optimal alignment and improved dental health. The way these aligners work can provide a buffer that minimizes or eliminates teeth grinding or bruxism. These aligners can treat crooked teeth, excessive space between teeth, and a variety of bite issues.
While they slowly reposition your teeth and condition your jaw muscles, Invisalign aligners can reduce inflammatory stress and pressure on the temporomandibular joint or TMJ. If you experience a tight or tender jaw, tension headaches, or a popping jaw, these symptoms may indicate a TMJ disorder. Invisalign braces may offer effective and lasting pain relief.
Understanding TMJ Pain
TMJ connects your skull to the lower jaw and plays a central role in the proper opening and closing of your mouth, which impacts your ability to bite, chew, and speak comfortably. You have a temporomandibular joint on each side of your jaw.
TMJ pain can happen due to a variety of health reasons, including bruxism, arthritis, jaw injury, or jaw misalignment. Seeing an orthodontist when you experience TMJ pain is important so you can get timely care. If left untreated, this can lead to complications that impact your oral health.
Persistent TMJ issues can cause:
- Cracked, chipped, or broken teeth
- Excessive enamel wear
- Gum recession
You may experience TMJ pain from time to time, usually when your stress levels are high, or on a chronic basis.
How Invisalign Can Alleviate TMJ Pain
Jaw misalignment can easily cause TMJ pain, and braces are the most common treatment for it, including Invisalign. When choosing these clear aligners, you must wear them 20 to 22 hours every day, which helps prevent nighttime teeth grinding, and minimize pain and damage to your TMJ. Invisalign usually requires several months to achieve adequate teeth and jaw alignment, so you can bite, chew, and speak without discomfort.
As your aligners straighten your bite, you should experience less grinding thanks to improved dental positioning. Your lower facial and jaw muscles will also get relief from bruxism and over time your TMJ disorder can diminish. Your doctor usually recommends that you wear a customized retainer during the night after completing your Invisalign treatment. This helps not only maintain your new jaw alignment but also prevent future TMJ pain.
Explore Treatment Options
No matter what causes your TMJ pain, going to see an orthodontist is important to get an accurate diagnosis and adequate treatment. Invisalign may not be the right solution for you if your TMJ disorder is not related to teeth misalignment. Your provider will perform a careful evaluation of your dental health, which often includes medical imaging to have a detailed understanding of your situation.
Other dental treatments can alleviate your TMJ pain, which may include at-home solutions like eating soft food or applying hot or cold compresses. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and muscle relaxants or recommend corticosteroid injections for pain relief.
Dental appliances can also make a significant difference, especially full-coverage nightguards that prevent your molars from touching and avoid grinding tooth damage.
If you are experiencing TMJ pain, contact Access Dental today at (973) 358-6266 to schedule an appointment for compassionate care.