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Can Orthodontic Treatment cause TMJ problems?

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There is an impression that after wearing braces and correcting the alignment, jaw joints are impacted and as a result jaw pain manifests. Can orthodontic treatment really cause TMJ problems? Let us explore.

Response of Jaw Joints after wearing braces

The TMJ or the Tempero Mandibular Joint or simply the jaw joints are a very complex and an interesting structure. The reason is they can move in a circular motion, can move from left to right and also from top to bottom (while closing and opening the mouth). This complexity in movement enables the jaw to perform such functions like chewing food and talking.

When we wear dental braces, the shift in alignment is not caused suddenly. Rather the shift is induced gradually. So it is said that the jaw joint adapts to this gradual shift quite well. So from this logic, an orthodontic treatment cannot cause TMJ problem.

Main Factors for TMJ Pain

It cannot be ruled out that TMJ pain might have also occurred due to some other issues like over-stress of jaw, general health condition, general stress or injuries to the jaw. Hence a proper investigation can sometimes reveal that TMJ pain may have not been caused by Dental Braces. These are possibilities that cannot be ruled out.

There are remote possibilities of TMJ pain being caused after wearing braces.

Exceptions in the response of Jaw Joints after wearing braces

The number of people who have reported TMJ pain after wearing braces are few. This means a vast majority of people have adapted to the braces. This provides a clue that the mandibular joints have adapted to the differential alignment quite well in majority of cases.

However for a few it has been reported that pain has manifested in the jaw joint only after wearing braces. In rarest of rare cases the self adaptability is exceeded and this can result in pain in the jaw joints. But off late many technological advancements have taken place in the field of orthodontics which has made this rarest of rare occasion too a rare occurrence.

The new bite pattern if not conducive is what can cause this joint pain. The bite patterns now can be assessed using advanced digital technologies like Tscan which measures BITE FORCE distribution per unit TIME. Another technology called Surface EMG is also available that calculates the functionality and muscular activity of the complex muscle tissues that help in the jaw movement. These two technologies when optimally used can ascertain the bite pattern that is causing pain. They can now give the dentist the optimal position where the alignment needs to now move and this can serve to eliminate the jaw joint pain arising after orthodontic treatment.

Conclusion – Since TMJ pain are a rare occurrence after wearing dental braces, they cannot serve as a detrimental factor. The benefits of wearing braces far outweighs the probability of TMJ pain from occurring. So it is safe to conclude that wearing braces is always recommended.

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