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FAQ:  TMJ / TMD - Jaw Joint Pain



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Question:
I have been diagnosed with TMJ. I am wondering if having braces put back on will help. This is the way I would like to go. I wore braces for almost three years when I was a freshman through a junior in highschool, but my orthodontist took them off early because (he was trying to be nice) he figured it was good.

I only wore rubberbands for a month and I needed to have worn them for at least 4. What should I do? I would really like to have my braces put back on not only to fix the TMJ but to also make my teeth a little straighter and my bite look better. Thanks for your help, Kristin

Answer:
Kristin, if you were to put the braces back on for TMJ purposes, you need to find an orthodontist who treats TMJ problems and understands how teeth can compress the joints.

A lot of TMJ problems are actually caused by braces, due to the fact that your teeth tend to shift backwards which strains the TMJoint. If you do through ortho again I would recommend that you have TMJ X-rays to properly evaluate the position of your joints and work towards establishing harmony between teeth, muscles, nerves, and joints.

Not too many dentists understand this philosophy, I hope your orthodontist does. Whatever you do, do not undertake any treatment that plans on shifting your front teeth backwards. Your bite will most likely need to be "raised" and your front teeth will need some "freedom" for chewing. Sit down with your orthodontist and discuss these things carefully.

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