Can you advise me? I’ve been on Invisalign treatments for several weeks. Recently, I started having jaw pain and massive headaches. A friend insists it’s Invisalign giving me TMJ. I don’t want to stop these treatments if she’s wrong. I’ve been looking forward to having straight teeth for many years. Do you have any recommendations for me?
Lucy N. – Denver, CO
There are many causes for TMJ. Some are genetic. Some are lifestyle related. Stress can be a major cause if it’s leading you to clench down. You could even be doing that without realizing it. Biting down or tensing up adds stress to your jaw joint. That can lead to both head and jaw pain. Sometimes medications you’re on can lead to clenching, such as Adderall. If you’re married, ask your husband to keep an eye out for you grinding your teeth at night.
Orthodontics, including Invisalign, aren’t generally a cause. In fact, improving your bite can actually improve TMJ. That being said, if you already had some mild TMJ, adjusting your bite could be aggravating symptoms that weren’t as noticeable before.
I’d see your dentist. He’ll examine your jaw and bite, as well as run other diagnostic tests, to see if they can run down the root cause of your pain. It doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to continue your treatmment. If for some reason you have to it would only be temporary while you and your dentist figured out the best way to treat you. Then you can resume treatment.
Occasionally, someone isn’t a good candidate for Invisalign. If that is the case with you, don’t despair. There are other ways to give you a gorgeous smile. A good cosmetic dentist with experience in neuromuscular dentistry will be a key component for you.
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