What is TMJ? Can Invisalign fix it?

Our jaws play such a fundamental role in our daily lives. We use our jaws for three main functions –  to eat, talk and breathe. So, what happens when our jaw cannot keep up with all that we ask it to do? 

TMJ is a common disorder with ranging severities that generally appear as a pain in your jaw or difficulty opening and closing your mouth. Can Invisalign solve your TMJ and give you a perfectly aligned smile at the same time? Keep reading to find out.

What is TMJ? 

TMJ refers to your temporomandibular, which is actually a joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. TMJ is simply a body part found on each side of your jaw and it acts as the sliding hinge to open and close your mouth.

When people say they have TMJ, they actually mean they have temporomandibular disorder, which is known by dental professionals as TMD. Although the pain that can be found in your jaw is commonly known as TMD, for the sake of accuracy in this article, we will refer to the disorder as TMD henceforth. 


TMD can be extremely hard to diagnose. This is because the most common symptom is typically pain or tenderness in your jaw so it’s easily confused with any ordinary overuse of your jaw which can also lead to some jaw pains. 

Another common symptom of TMD is difficulty chewing, whether it’s difficulty with opening and closing your jaw or experiencing pain while opening and closing your jaw. 

Those suffering from TMD may experience aches in or around their ear, aches in and around their face, and the locking of one or both of the temporomandibular joints.

The Importance of Consulting Your Orthodontist

If you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, do not panic. It’s important to understand that 95% of TMJ disorders are minor issues that are often caused by the overuse of your jaw muscles. Still, it is best to visit your dentist for peace of mind if you’re experiencing any jaw pain.

This is because minor issues shouldn’t be ignored. Those suffering from some small TMJ pains could eventually develop more serious TMD. It is possible for your temporomandibular joint to wear down over time since the disk in your TMJ is essentially providing comfort, sliding with the movement and allowing you to open and close your mouth. This means if your TMJ disk wears down, you can develop TMD. 

More severe TMD can be caused, worsened, or sped up by general jaw injuries, teeth grinding, jaw clenching, magnesium deficiencies, arthritis, amongst other things. 

To prevent the worsening of minor TMD, it is best to mention to your orthodontist in Apopka when you feel pain in your jaw. If your pain is not going away and starts becoming unbearable, call your orthodontist right away. 

Can Invisalign Fix TMJ?

Since one of the most common causes of TMD is clenching and or grinding your teeth as you sleep, there is no surprise that a common remedy for TMD is a nightguard. 

Invisalign is an aligner that covers your teeth, just as a nightguard or a retainer does. Also, you wear it while you sleep and while you are awake. Hence, the effect is similar. 

Invisalign will prevent wearers from causing any damage by grinding their teeth, while at the same time aligning their teeth into a straighter smile. Since teeth that are perfectly aligned can remove strain and stress from your jaw joint, Invisalign is not only a short-term solution to teeth grinding but a long-term solution for TMD. 

All of that being said, the jury is still out on whether or not Invisalign is a proper solution to TMD. It is certainly not a guaranteed cure to TMD and shouldn’t be regarded as one. However, there is a chance it can improve and perhaps alleviate your jaw pain, and it is certainly something worth discussing with your dentist. 


Invisalign is certainly an option worth considering if you have been suffering from TMD. Yet, despite its reputation for helping cases of TMD, it is far from a guaranteed cure, and it really comes down to your specific case. 

If you are suffering from TMD, it is best to discuss with your orthodontist who knows your unique situation and can advise if Invisalign may be the right option for you. 

Author: Dr. Alan Wong
Dr. Alan Wong is a dedicated orthodontist who loves helping his patients achieve healthy, beautiful smiles. He is committed to providing gentle, effective care in a patient-centered environment. Dr. Wong is also a strong believer in continuing education, so he can provide his patients with the latest and greatest treatment options.