I am on tray 7 of my Invisalign. I have loved the treatment, but recently started having severe headaches, and pain in my jaw and side of the face. In addition, I have a hard time opening my mouth all the way. I’m wondering if this is TMJ and is it possible it was caused by my Invisalign treatment?
Elisabeth A. – Connecticut
Though there are many causes for TMJ, usually Invisalign, or orthodontics in general, is not one of them. A person is usually predisposed due to genetics, detrimental habits, or bite problems.
TMJ dysfunction can certainly result from teeth movement if the temporomandibular joints are not functioning properly to begin with. Your first step will be to review your symptoms with your dentist.
He or she may recommend temporarily halting your treatment in order to concentrate efforts on identifying and diminishing the TMJ pain. From there you guys can re-evaluate if you are a good candidate to carry on.
Changing your bite (which Invisalign does) can indeed increase the symptoms and severity of your TMJ dysfunction, if you already had it. Even the manufacturers of Invisalign have strict recommendations regarding TMD patients using their aligners. So again, while Invisalign may not “cause” TMJ, it may have exasperated an underlying issue that was not picked up on prior to starting treatment. Making sure your TMD is resolved first, is far more important than continuing on with Invisalign. Once that issue is settled, you may resume your orthodontic treatment.
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