Can Braces Help With TMJ?

by | Jun 12, 2023 | Dental Braces, General Orthodontics, Orthodontic Treatments | 0 comments

Matthew’s had just about enough of that annoying TMJ pain he’s been dealing with for far too long! He’s been thinking that maybe braces could be the answer to his own jaw health woes, but he’s quite unsure if they’re the right fit for him.

That’s where Dr. Lee from Patuxent Orthodontics comes in! He’s the go-to expert who can help Matthew figure out if braces are the ticket to easing his TMJ ordeal or if there’s another treatment option that’ll work even better!

What is the Temporomandibular Joint?

The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ for short, is that nifty little joint connecting your lower jaw, called the mandible, to your skull’s temporal bone right in front of your ears. It’s super important because it lets you do all sorts of necessary things, like talking, chewing, and … yawning!

Basically, it’s the hinge that allows your jaw to move up and down, side to side, and even a little bit forward and backward. Sometimes, people can have issues with their TMJ, like pain or stiffness in the jaw joints, but don’t worry — there are treatments out there to help with that, too!

What is the Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

It’s often called TMD or TMJ disorder, and it’s basically when that super important joint we talked about earlier — the one connecting your jaw to your skull — starts acting up. It can cause all sorts of not-so-fun symptoms like pain, clicking or popping sounds, and even difficulty chewing or opening your mouth wide.

Sometimes, TMD can be a real mystery, and we don’t always know what causes it. It could be from teeth grinding, jaw clenching, or even an injury. The good news is there are ways to manage TMD, like using ice packs, taking pain relievers, or even doing jaw exercises. If it gets really bad, a dentist might need to step in and help out.

Young man with TMJ

What is the Most Common Cause of TMJ Pain?

It gets a bit trickier when discussing the most common cause of temporomandibular disorder because it can be caused by a bunch of different factors. One of the usual suspects is teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. Grinding your teeth, especially in your sleep, puts a whole lot of stress on that jaw joint and the surrounding muscles, potentially leading to TMJ issues.

Another common cause is jaw clenching, often due to stress or anxiety, which strains the joint and jaw muscles. But, as we mentioned earlier, there are various factors that can contribute to TMJ disorder, so it’s always a good idea to chat with a dental professional if you’re experiencing issues. They can help figure out what’s going on and recommend the best orthodontic treatment for you!

What TMD Symptoms Should I Look For?

Here are some of the most common symptoms that you might be dealing with temporomandibular joint disorder:

  • Pain or tenderness around the jaw joint, which could also spread to the face, neck, or shoulders.
  • Aching or discomfort while chewing, talking, or opening the mouth wide.
  • Limited jaw movement or a feeling of the jaw getting “stuck” in place.
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds when you move your jaw, accompanied by pain.
  • Swelling on the side of your face.
  • Ear pain, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), or even dizziness and vertigo.

Keep in mind that not everyone will experience all of these symptoms, and sometimes, they can come and go. If you think you might have TMD, it’s a solid idea to check in with a dentist or healthcare professional so they can help you figure out what’s going on and suggest the right treatment option for you.

Do Braces Help With TMJ Disorders?

There’s no straightforward answer to this question. In some cases, braces are helpful because they correct bite issues, like an overbite or underbite, which might contribute to the TMJ disorder. But, it’s also important to remember that braces aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution for TMJ problems!

Sometimes, other treatment options might work better, like mouthguards or even physical therapy. If you think your TMJ dysfunction might be related to your misaligned bite or teeth, definitely chat with a dentist or orthodontist. They’ll be able to give you the lowdown on whether braces could help in your specific situation!

TMJ orthodontic treatment

What Other Treatment Options for TMD Do I Have?

The right treatment option for TMD can vary from one patient to another, so it’s always best to chat with a dental or healthcare professional to figure out what’s best for your specific situation.

That said, here are some common treatments that might help with your TMJ dysfunction:

  • Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen or naproxen, to help manage any discomfort and inflammation.
  • Muscle relaxants, which will help if you’re dealing with muscle spasms related to TMD.
  • Wearing a night guard or splint, which will protect your teeth from grinding and reduce pressure on the jaw joint.
  • Physical therapy, which might include jaw exercises, stretches, and other techniques to improve jaw function and relieve jaw pain.
  • Stress reduction and relaxation techniques, like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or even counseling to help manage stress and reduce jaw clenching.

In some cases, your dentist or healthcare provider might suggest more invasive treatments like injections (corticosteroids or BOTOX) or even surgery, but these options are usually reserved for more severe cases that don’t respond to conservative treatments.

Perfect smile

Looking to Fix Your TMJ Dysfunction? Patuxent Orthodontics Can Help!

Contact Patuxent Orthodontics if orthodontic care is the way to achieve the beautiful smile of your dreams! Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of our orthodontic services or simply have questions about the process, use our live chat or call (240) 802-7217 or send us a message through our contact us page to connect with our friendly staff today and book a free consultation! Our office, located at 44220 Airport View Dr., Hollywood, MD 20636, proudly serves Maryland’s Patuxent area, as well as the Greater Washington DC area. So, if you’re residing in California, Lexington Park, and Great Mills and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in MD, don’t hesitate to visit our office! We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining sparkling oral health and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!

 

References

  1. Scaccia, Annamarya. “Botox for TMJ: Cost, Side Effects, Efficacy, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 1 May 2018, www.healthline.com/health/botox-for-tmj. Accessed 4 May 2023.
  2. “How to Treat TMJ Pain.” Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15066-temporomandibular-disorders-tmd-overview. Accessed 4 May 2023.
  3. “TMD (Temporomandibular Disorders).” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/tmd. Accessed 4 May 2023.

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