Orthodontists are well-known for correcting crooked teeth through the use of braces and other orthodontic appliances. However, your local orthodontist may also be the solution for correcting troublesome dental issues, like Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ.
Several factors can cause or contribute to jaw pain, including a bad bite, which is an issue orthodontists commonly see. When teeth don’t fit together correctly, it can put tremendous strain on your entire dental structure, which results in pain and discomfort in the jaw joints. If you or your child is suffering from TMJ symptoms, orthodontic treatment may be a long-term solution.
Symptoms of TMJ In Children and Adults
Both children and adults suffering from temporomandibular disorder often experience similar symptoms. TMJ is twice as likely to affect women when compared to men. The most affected are women in their reproductive years between the ages of 12 and 51.
Common symptoms to watch for include:
- Frequent headaches
- Neck aches
- Pain in the ears or the areas surrounding
- Jaw pain which is more prevalent in the morning or late noon
- Jaw discomfort when yawning, biting, and chewing food
- A clicking sound when the mouth opens or closes
- Tenderness and soreness of the jaw muscles
- Tooth sensitivity
- Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
Causes of TMJ
The causes of TMJ are primarily unknown; however, there are certain common behaviors associated with it. A significant cause of TMJ disorder is teeth grinding, which puts immense pressure on the joint, aggravating and inflating the joint further. Teeth clenching is also thought to contribute to the condition as it causes the facial and jaw muscles to tighten, which puts more pressure on the joint. Stress is thought to be one of the most significant factors in aggravating TMJ, as teeth grinding or clenching are common reactions many patients have during stressful situations.
Orthodontic Treatment For TMJ
If you suffer from a bad bite, there is a good chance that you inherited it from one of your parents. However, had habits like tongue thrusting, mouth breathing, thumb sucking, or the premature loss of teeth can also lead to misalignment.
When it comes to treatments for TMJ disorder, there are two common approaches.
A night guard can be effectively used to hold your teeth apart while you sleep to keep them from grinding against each other. A night guard can work to ease the pressure exerted on the temporomandibular joint by enabling the joint to slide back into position, lessening the impact on the joint.
Braces are one of the most common and effective treatments for TMJ. If your bite issues cause TMJ, straightening your smile and aligning the jaws with braces can be the best long-term solution. We can adjust how your teeth are aligned on both the upper and lower jaws with orthodontic treatment to eliminate TMJ pain. When TMJ is caused by teeth grinding or clenching, braces can help in these cases, too. Many cases of grinding or clenching are caused by misalignment.
Eliminating Jaw Pain With Thomas Orthodontics
Even if your teeth are straight, you can still suffer from jaw alignment issues, and in these cases, braces can help! While an orthodontist can be the solution to many TMJ-related issues, not all TMJ cases can be corrected with braces. That’s why it’s imperative to have a consultation with a skilled professional who can help diagnose the cause of your specific TMJ pain to help find a permanent solution. To learn more about braces and if they’re the right solution for correcting your TMJ, contact Thomas Orthodontics today.