Braces have come a long way since they were invented in the early 1900s. Modern orthodontic techniques work with the physiology of the human body to move teeth in a faster and more gentle way. The health benefits and social benefits of having an attractive smile and a comfortable bite are well documented. Now more than ever before it is both important and possible to correct smile problems and bite problems with orthodontic treatment.
TMJ is an acute or chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint (the joint connecting the jaw to the skull.) Because the temporomandibular joint involves many elements: muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, connective tissue, and the teeth. TMJ can affect all of these elements, causing a wide range of symptoms:
Headaches, especially in the morning
Earaches, especially in the morning
Migraines, especially in the morning
Tinnitus (ringing sound in the ears)
Neck and shoulder pain
Cracking, popping or grating sounds when opening or closing the mouth
Jaw pain or tenderness
Trouble or discomfort biting or chewing
Anything that places undue strain on the temporomandibular joint may contribute to TMJ. These include, but are not limited to:
Bruxism (unconscious grinding or clenching of teeth)
Trauma such as a blow to the jaw
Degenerative joint disease such as osteoarthritis
Excessive nail biting or gum chewing
Misalignment of the jaw or teeth (bad bite)
The first step in treatment is to thoroughly examine the patient’s jaw and history to determine what’s causing TMJ. Treatment may include one or more different approaches depending on the cause:
Orthodontic treatment: If the TMJ is thought to stem from a bad bite, orthodontic treatment to correct the misalignment may also cure TMJ and bring other cosmetic and health benefits.
Splints (mouth guards) – if bruxism is causing TMJ, nighttime mouth guards can reduce clenching in some patients.
Biofeedback – bruxism may also be treated with nighttime biofeedback using a headband that detects clenching and grinding and sounds an alarm that prompts the patient to stop clenching or grinding without waking up.
Relaxation therapies – bruxism may be caused or worsened by periods of high stress; TMJ treatment may include therapies to reduce or deal with stress.
What Is Invisalign?
Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear, virtually invisible custom-molded aligners.
A Clear Alternative to Metal Braces
By using a series of clear, removable aligners, Invisalign straightens your teeth with results you’ll notice sooner than you think. The course of treatment involves changing aligners approximately every two weeks, moving your teeth into a straighter position step by step until you have a more beautiful smile. And unlike braces, these clear aligners can be removed while you eat and brush your teeth as usual.
An average Invisalign course of treatment takes about a year. You’ll see your dentist every 6 to 8 weeks for adjustments and to check progress. At regular intervals, you’ll receive a new set of custom-moulded clear aligners to continue the straightening process. The total number of clear aligners is specific to you, determined by your doctor for your course of treatment. Invisalign is best suited to corrections of minor crowding or spacing of teeth, so it is important to carefully discuss your treatment goals with your dentist before starting treatment.
Clear and Comfortable
Since Invisalign is practically invisible, there’s no unwarranted attention to your mouth. In fact, very few people will notice at all – unless you tell them. They’re comfortable to wear and remove easily when you eat, brush, and floss.
People like you now have great smiles and straighter teeth all across the country, thanks to Invisalign. Why not join them? To find out more about Invisalign, please visit their website at www.invisalign.com.