Can orthodontic treatment cause TMJ?
If you are considering orthodontic treatment and worry about TMJ disorder, it is good to know that there is no relationship between orthodontic treatment and TMJ disorder except two exceptions. The posterior crossbite that causes the jaw to shift to one side upon closure and an anterior open bite where all the biting force is just on the back teeth and front teeth do not touch at all.
The relation between brace and TMJ disorder
Although braces straight and align teeth but they make pressure on the jaw joints and muscles. Braces make orthodontic movement and can cause an imbalance of the force between the bottom and top jaw and lead to pain and discomfort. During the orthodontic treatment and teeth movement, the joints are compressed because of clenching or unstable muscles. These unwanted pressure which causes by brace can lead to TMJ.
On the other hand, orthodontics also used to treat TMJ by helping teeth and bite move into a healthier alignment to decrease the pressure that causing TMJ.
What is TMJ?
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is a pain in the jaw joint. TMJ is responsible to connect the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull (temporal bone) which is placed in front of the ear. The lower jaw also attaches to certain facial muscles that control chewing. TMJ disorder cause pain in the jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement.
Generally, it is difficult to determine the exact cause of TMJ but usually, it is due to a combination of different factors like jaw injury, arthritis, and genetics. This disease is also more common among women and affects almost twice as many women as men especially during childbearing age. Stress also plays an important role in affecting TMJ disorder.
TMJ can cause some complications such as facial pain, headaches, neck, and head pain, ear pain, a problem with biting, popping sounds or jaw clicking when you bite, and jaw that is locked in position or difficult to open.
In most case, the associated pain with TMJ disorder is temporary and can manage with self-care or nonsurgical treatments. But in severe case, the doctor suggests surgical procedure such as arthrocentesis, injections, TMJ arthroscopy, modified condylotomy, and open-joint surgery.
There are also some factors that increase the risk of TMJ disorder such as various types of arthritis like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid, long term grinding or clenching of teeth, jaw injury and certain connective tissue diseases that cause problems which can affect the temporomandibular joint.
Home remedies for TMJ disorder
You can remove many symptoms of TMJ disorder by stress reduction, relaxation techniques as well as home remedies such as:
- Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen, ibuprofen
- Eating soft foods and avoiding chewing gum
- Ice or cold packs to the joint area
- Stress management and relaxation techniques
- Massage or gentle self-stretching of the jaw and neck muscles
- Sedative essential oils like clary sage, lavender and chamomile can cause temporary relief from pain
How to prevent Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder?
You can prevent TMJ syndrome by self-care at home including:
- Avoiding chewing gum
- Doing stress reduction and relaxation techniques
- Eating soft foods
- Applying dental splint appliances that are recommended by your jaw care professional
- Preserving appropriate condition