When our jaws become the source of discomfort or pain, the experience can quickly become debilitating. Temporomandibular dysfunction (commonly referred to as TMD or TMJ disorder) can affect an individual’s ability to chew, speak, and swallow with ease. The medical condition quickly becomes a quality of life issue for many of our patients. If you are seeking relief from this common condition, the doctors of Aviara Centers can begin with conservative treatments that can bring relief.

Orthodontic Treatment Options for TMJ Disorder

The TMJs are a complex network of bone, muscle, and connective tissue that must work in harmony when opening and closing. Patients who suffer from misaligned teeth (malocclusion) are at increased risk of developing TMJ disorder because crooked teeth can cause the jaw to close and open improperly. Drs. Katherine Ahn Wallace and Rita Chuang bring advanced training and years of experience in treating TMJ disorder through orthodontics. Possible treatments include:

  • Traditional Orthodontics 
  • Airway-focused Alternative Modalities
  • Controlled Arch System
  • Invisalign + Encore Align
  • SFOT (Surgically Facilitated Orthodontic Therapy)
  • Propel Orthodontic System

Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment

Following orthodontic treatment, or possibly after several months of treatment have elapsed, patients may notice that their symptoms are less noticeable. Clicking jaws can begin opening with ease, and discomfort while eating or speaking may dissipate. Just as it takes months or even years for TMJ symptoms to arise, it will take time for the TMJs to heal. Proper alignment of the teeth can lead to relief in nearby structures, such as the jaws, neck, head, and shoulders. 

While orthodontic treatments for TMJ disorder are restorative in nature, having better-aligned teeth can have important cosmetic benefits as well. An attractive smile can leave you feeling more confident and younger-looking. Better aligned teeth are also easier to clean and maintain. 

Treatment Overview

The first step in your treatment requires understanding the role that your teeth alignment may be playing in causing TMJ-related discomfort or pain. During your initial visit, one of our doctors will inquire into your symptoms. If possible, patients should write down their symptoms in the days or weeks before visiting our office. By providing our doctors with a detailed description of the triggers of jaw pain and when they occur, our dentists can provide a more accurate diagnosis. 

During your visit, you may be asked to open and close your jaws. Advanced imaging will be taken to measure your jawbones and teeth. Depending on the nature of your teeth misalignment, one of several orthodontic treatments may be prescribed. Traditional braces give our doctors close control over the treatment process through the use of brackets and wires that are periodically tightened.

Some patients may benefit from discreet Invisalign clear aligners that gently nudge teeth into better alignment through micro-movements. Orthodontic treatments may take several months to a few years to complete. Throughout your treatment, you will notice that your TMJ disorder symptoms steadily recede. 

Schedule Your Treatment for TMJ Disorder Today

Our doctors bring advanced training in craniofacial development and airway-focused orthodontics. If you wake up with sore jaw muscles or jaw pain, you may have TMJ disorder. Tens of millions of Americans suffer from this jaw misalignment problem. Often, the discomfort stems from poorly aligned teeth. The doctors of Aviara Centers can treat your symptoms through orthodontics or other effective means. We team always takes a conservative approach to treatment. Please call our office at (714) 790-9792.