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The Role of Orthodontics in Treating TMJ Disorders

TMJ disorders can be a debilitating condition that cause chronic pain and discomfort in the jaw, neck, and face. Fortunately, there is hope for those suffering from TMJ disorders, and orthodontic treatments can help to effectively reduce symptoms and improve overall quality of life.

In this blog post, we will discuss the role of orthodontics in treating TMJ disorders and how it can provide relief for those who suffer from this condition.

The Role of Orthodontics in Treating TMJ Disorders

Orthodontics can play a crucial role in treating TMJ disorders. This area of dentistry focuses on aligning and straightening the teeth and jaws, which can help alleviate the symptoms of TMJ disorders. By correcting the alignment of the teeth and jaws, orthodontic treatments can reduce stress on the temporomandibular joint and alleviate pain.

Orthodontics can help with TMJ disorder by using braces or clear aligners to correct the bite. When the bite is misaligned, it can put excessive pressure on the jaw joint, leading to TMJ disorder symptoms. By correcting the bite, orthodontic treatment can relieve the strain on the joint and alleviate TMJ disorder symptoms.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder, also known as temporomandibular joint disorder, can cause various symptoms that can be both uncomfortable and debilitating. Here are five common symptoms of TMJ disorder:

  1. Jaw pain: One of the most common TMJ disorder symptoms is jaw pain. This pain can be mild or severe and can be felt in the jaw joint or the surrounding areas, such as the ear or face.
  2. Clicking or popping sounds: Many people with TMJ disorder experience clicking or popping sounds when they open or close their mouths. These sounds can result from a misalignment or damage to the temporomandibular joint.
  3. Headaches: TMJ disorder can often lead to headaches, particularly in the temples or behind the eyes. These headaches can be chronic or sporadic and range from mild to severe.
  4. Difficulty chewing or biting: TMJ disorder can affect the function of the jaw, making it difficult or painful to chew or bite down. It can result in discomfort while eating, leading to a restricted diet.
  5. Locking of the jaw: In severe cases, TMJ disorder can cause the jaw to lock in an open or closed position. It can be extremely painful and interfere with everyday activities like speaking or eating.

Causes of TMJ Disorder 

Here are some of the most common causes of TMJ Disorder:

  1. Jaw misalignment: When the jaw is not properly aligned, it can put additional stress on the temporomandibular joint, leading to discomfort and pain.
  2. Teeth grinding and clenching: Habitually grinding or clenching your teeth, especially during sleep, can put excessive pressure on the jaw joint, leading to TMJ Disorder.
  3. Trauma or injury: A direct blow to the jaw or face, such as a sports injury or accident, can cause damage to the temporomandibular joint and result in TMJ Disorder.
  4. Arthritis: Certain types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, can affect the joints, including the temporomandibular joint, and lead to TMJ Disorder.
  5. Stress: Chronic stress and anxiety can cause a person to clench their jaw or grind their teeth, leading to TMJ Disorder over time.

Common Orthodontic Treatments for TMJ Disorders

  1. Splint therapy – This involves wearing a customized appliance, similar to a mouthguard, that helps to reduce the tension in the jaw joint and prevent clenching or grinding of the teeth.
  2. Orthodontic braces – Braces can be used to correct misaligned teeth, which can contribute to TMJ Disorder. Properly aligning the teeth reduces pressure on the jaw joint, resulting in less pain and discomfort.
  3. Invisalign – Like traditional braces, Invisalign can be used to correct misaligned teeth. However, these clear aligners offer a more discreet option for those who are self-conscious about wearing braces.
  4. Maxillofacial Surgery – In severe cases, surgery may be required to correct TMJ Disorder. Orthodontists can work with maxillofacial surgeons to ensure that orthodontic treatments align with surgical plans.
  5. Lifestyle changes – Orthodontists may recommend changes to your daily routine to help manage TMJ Disorder symptoms. It could include changes to your diet, incorporating stress-reducing activities, or adjusting your sleeping habits.


TMJ disorder can cause significant discomfort and affect daily life for those who suffer from it. Fortunately, orthodontics can help to play a significant role in treating and alleviating TMJ symptoms.

If you suspect you have TMJ disorder, we encourage you to contact our team at Smiles by Pocock to schedule a consultation and explore your treatment options. Don’t let TMJ disorder hold you back from living your best life.

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