I am well into my Invisalign treatment. Since starting my sixth tray, I’ve been having severe headaches as well as pain in my jaw and the side of my face. I’ve also noticed that I can’t open my mouth all the way. Could I have developed TMJ and do you think Invisalign is what is causing it? — Sarah in Arkansas
TMJ can be caused by several things (genetics, bad habits or bite problems, etc). TMJ dysfunction can result from teeth movement if the TMJ’s are not functioning properly to begin with, however, Invisalign treatment or orthodontics in general is probably not a main cause of the disorder. Talk with your dentist about what you are experiencing because he will probably want to stop treatment and focus on trying to determine what is causing the discomfort and also re-evaluate if you should continue with the Invisalign treatment. Because Invisalign changes your bite, it could be making the TMJ dysfunction worse and that is why the manufacturers of Invisalign have strict recommendations when it comes to TMD patients. While the aligners may not be specifically “causing” TMJ, it may be bringing an issue to the forefront that your dentist did not know about or diagnose before starting your treatment. It’s important to address the TMD first before continuing on with Invisalign.