In this day and age, braces are commonly thought of as a cosmetic procedure that many people get to improve their smile and straighten their teeth. While that is certainly true, prospective patients also fail to realize that braces can help with a wide variety of other oral disorders. The second most common reason for braces, besides aesthetics, is an overbite. But other disorders such as temporal mandibular joint disorder (TMJ) can also be treated with braces.
Temporal mandibular joint disorder is where the joint on either side of your jaw loses its alignment and “pops,” causing pain and headaches. This is common in many adults (upwards of 15%) from the ages of 20 to 40. By aligning the teeth with braces, it can be fixed and a patient can experience relief.
How can orthodontists provide the solution for temporal mandibular joint disorder? Let’s dive in and try to understand TMJ from an orthodontics perspective so that you comprehend how braces will help you.
What Causes Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder?
The most common reason for TMJ and the associated pain is that a piece of cartilage in your jaw joint has slipped out of place. However, TMJ can also be caused by a number of injuries, dislocated jaw, or the development of arthritis. Some patients bring TMJ upon themselves by clenching or grinding their teeth more often than they should, especially if their teeth don’t line up correctly. This is where orthodontists need to step in and help correct the issue.
Braces Are (Usually) the Solution
At the end of the day, braces end up being one of the most common and effective solutions for solving TMJ issues and pain. If your TMJ issues result from an overbite or under bite, then correcting the alignment of your teeth should clear up any pain. The same goes for teeth grinding or clenching. Sometimes, TMJ is caused by other issues that are out of the control of orthodontists, which is why it is so important to have a professional consultation done.
Clear Aligners and Braces Work the Same
Sometimes, people with correctable TMJ pain will suffer because they don’t want to go through the hassle of getting traditional wire braces. Luckily, with modern orthodontics, you don’t have to choose between being in pain and having traditional braces. Now, Invisalign clear aligners allow you all the benefits of braces with minimal downsides.
Clear aligners such as Invisalign are almost invisible, so nobody needs to know that you have them in. They are also removable, allowing you to fully eat or drink while your treatment is ongoing and no longer hassle over cleaning your teeth. You can keep (or improve) your oral hygiene habits while your treatment goes on. While the full treatment usually requires you to switch out new aligners on a monthly basis, many people have these shipped to them or picked up at their orthodontist.
It Never Hurts to Get Checked Out
Many orthodontists offer free consultations and appointments if you’re concerned about TMJ. Rest assured, the more you know, the easier it is to fight the battle with TMJ head-on. Contact the experts at David Ross Orthodontics for more information.