Do you suffer from jaw pain or discomfort, frequent headaches, facial pain, clicking of the jaw, earaches, or teeth that are excessively worn down? You may suffer from a disorder of the temporomandibular joint.

In patients with TMJ, there is a jaw and bite misalignment that leads to pain, which can then lead to issues in other areas of your life. The good news is, orthodontic treatment can help your TMJ.

There are several orthodontic treatment options available for TMJ patients. The one that will be best for you will depend on your overall health, medical history, and the extent of your disorder. Before beginning orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will recommend treatment to help ease your pain before making adjustments to your alignment. These may include:

• Stress management techniques to reducing clenching of the jaw

• Mouth exercises

• Resting of the jaw

• Pain medication

• Hot and cold compresses

• Mouthguard to prevent tooth grinding during sleep

Once you have successfully managed your pain, your orthodontist will recommend an orthodontic treatment to help improve the function and alignment of your jaw. Your orthodontist may recommend splint therapy or braces to help realign your jaw.

For most patients, jaw joint pain and muscle problems are only temporary, so a conservative treatment such as splint therapy may be recommended. Splint therapy can help reposition the jaw by pulling the mandible forward. The splint is essentially a mouthguard that works to achieve ideal repositioning of the jaw. The splint works to hold the jaw in its proper position, allowing the muscles and ligaments to relax. This then relieves pain and tension, and often the bruxism and clenching that is associated with TMJ.

Stabilization splints are the most widely used treatment for TMJ disorders. However, if your symptoms persist or worsen, you and your orthodontist may want to look into additional orthodontic treatment, such as braces, to relieve your discomfort.

If your TMJ is caused by a problem of misalignment or a bite issue, braces can move your teeth to their ideal locations, which will then allow for your TMJ to move back to its proper alignment. Braces can improve your symptoms. Additionally, ensuring a properly aligned bite will prevent additional abnormal wear to your teeth, which could lead to the need for additional dental work.

If you suffer from frequent headaches, earaches, toothaches, jaw pain, or any of the other symptoms, it is important to discuss this pain with your orthodontist before it worsens. Your orthodontist will be able to diagnoseose if you have a TMJ disorder, and get you back to a pain free life soon.