Can Braces Help With TMJ?

by | Jun 12, 2023 | General Orthodontics, Oral Health, Orthodontic Treatments | 0 comments

5 min reading time

It’s been far too long for Matthew to deal with that annoying TMJ pain, and he’s thinking braces might solve the problem, but he’s really not sure if they’re right for him.

That’s where Dr. Lee comes in! He’s the go-to expert at Loudoun Orthodontics who can help Matthew figure out if braces will ease his TMJ ordeal or whether another treatment option will be even more effective.

What is the Temporomandibular Joint?

The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is located in front of the ears and connects the lower jaw to your skull’s temporal bone. There are all sorts of things you can do with it, like talking, chewing, and yawning, so it’s really important!

Basically, the TMJ is the hinge that allows your jaw to move up and down, side to side, and even backward and forward a little bit. There are treatments out there that can help with TMJ issues such as pain or stiffness in the jaw joints.

What is the Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

When that important joint connecting your jaw to your skull starts acting up, it’s called TMD or TMJ disorder. In addition to pain and clicking or popping sounds, you may also have difficulty chewing or opening your mouth wide.

Sometimes, TMD can be a real mystery, and we aren’t always sure why it occurs. It can be caused by grinding your teeth, clenching your jaw, or even an injury. It’s good news that you can manage it with ice packs, pain relievers, or even jaw exercises. A dentist might be able to help if it gets really bad.

Young man with TMJ

What is the Most Common Cause of TMJ Pain?

Since temporomandibular disorder can be caused by a lot of different factors, discussing the most common cause becomes a bit more challenging. The usual suspects include teeth grinding, or bruxism. When you grind your teeth, especially during sleep, the jaw joint and surrounding muscles are subjected to a lot of stress, which can lead to TMJ problems.

Often due to stress or anxiety, jaw clenching strains the joint and jaw muscles. As mentioned earlier, a variety of factors can cause TMJ disorder, so if you notice any problems, talk to an orthodontic professional. In addition to determining what’s going on, they can also recommend the best orthodontic treatment plan for you.

What TMJ Symptoms Should I Look For?

The temporomandibular joint disorder can cause the following symptoms:

  • Tenderness or pain around the jaw joint that can spread to the face, neck, or shoulders.
  • You may experience pain or discomfort when you chew, talk, or open your mouth wide.
  • Jaw movement is limited or the jaw feels stuck.
  • When you move your jaw, you hear clicking, popping, or grating sounds.
  • Face swelling on one side.
  • Dizziness, vertigo, and even ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

It is important to remember that not everyone will experience all of these symptoms, and sometimes they can come and go. If you think you might have TMD, you should see a dentist or healthcare professional so they can help you figure out what’s going on and suggest the best treatment options.

Do Braces Help With TMJ Disorders?

A straightforward answer isn’t always available to this question. It’s important to remember that braces can correct bite problems, like an overbite or underbite, However, they’re not always a one-size-fits-all solution for TMJ disorders.

In some cases, treatments such as using mouthguards or undergoing physical therapy may be more effective than other TMJ therapies. If you suspect your TMJ dysfunction is related to your misaligned bite or teeth, talk to your dentist or orthodontist right away. They will know if braces could be helpful for your situation.

TMJ orthodontic treatment

What Other Treatment Options for TMD Do I Have?

TMD treatment options vary from patient to patient, so it’s best to talk with a dentist or healthcare professional to determine what’s right for you.

As such, here are some treatments that might help with TMJ dysfunction:

  • Inflammation and discomfort can be managed with pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Consult with your healthcare provider before purchasing these.
  • TMD-related muscle spasms can be relieved with muscle relaxants.
  • By wearing a night guard or splint, you can prevent your teeth from grinding and reduce jaw joint pressure.
  • The use of physical therapy to relieve jaw pain and improve jaw function may include jaw exercises, stretches, and other techniques.
  • Relaxation and stress reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or even counseling can help manage stress and reduce jaw clenching.

In some cases, your dentist or healthcare provider may suggest more invasive treatments, like injections (corticosteroids or BOTOX) or even surgery depending on the severity of the condition.

Perfect smile

Looking to Fix Your TMJ Dysfunction? Loudoun Orthodontics Can Help!

Contact Loudoun Orthodontics if you think braces are the solution to your dental woes. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of braces or have questions about the process, use our live chat or call (703) 858-0303 or send us a message through our contact us page to connect with our friendly staff today to book a complimentary orthodontic consultation! Our office, located at 19465 Deerfield Ave, Suite 304, Leesburg, VA 20176, proudly serves not just Loudoun County but also the Greater Washington DC area. So, if you’re residing in Ashburn, Lansdowne, or Sterling, and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in Virginia, don’t hesitate to visit our office! We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining sparkling oral health, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!



  1. Scaccia, Annamarya. “Botox for TMJ: Cost, Side Effects, Efficacy, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 1 May 2018, www.healthline.com/health/botox-for-tmj. Accessed 4 May 2023.
  2. “How to Treat TMJ Pain.” Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15066-temporomandibular-disorders-tmd-overview. Accessed 4 May 2023.
  3. “TMD (Temporomandibular Disorders).” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/tmd. Accessed 4 May 2023.