Having temporomandibular joint disorder can be quite painful, and it may feel like you never get a break from it. As it turns out, braces can be helpful for reducing the number of symptoms that you have with this disorder. Here's how.
Temporomandibular joint disorder is a problem with the joints that act as hinges for your jaw. While the causes of TMJ can vary and include injuries and genetic predispositions, the symptoms are usually the same: tightness, pain, inflammation, and stiffness of the joints. You may also experience popping or grinding in the joint.
While most people who have this disorder will have it for life, that doesn't mean that there isn't room to improve your symptoms.
Most people don't have perfectly straight teeth by nature. This isn't a big deal for most folks, but when it comes to having a jaw disorder, every little thing can add on to it.
When your teeth are crooked, it can cause your teeth to not rest together properly. Even as much as one tooth standing up taller than the others can force your jaw to stay partially open, which can put pressure on the joint.
By getting braces and straightening your teeth, you eliminate this pressure point. All of your teeth will be level with each other and your jaw will be able to truly rest when fully closed.
For a lot of people, the jaw itself is partially to blame for TMJ pain. Specifically, an overbite or underbite may be a problem for you.
Like any good hinge, your jaw is supposed to be arranged so that the upper and lower teeth are parallel with each other. However, with an underbite or overbite, the upper or lower jaw will jut out too far or will recede too far inward. This puts strain on the joint because it's not supposed to be asymmetrical.
Braces can help with this, too. Orthodontists are pros at treating underbites and overbites and reducing them to the point where it's no longer noticeable. This can greatly improve your symptoms, as it can take the strain off the jaw and help it to function more normally.
TMJ can be a serious problem and one that can be hard to find relief from. If you're tired of living with your symptoms, talk to an orthodontist to find out if braces are the solution you're looking for.