Is Jaw Pain During Invisalign Treatment Normal?

I’ve been through a couple rounds with my Invisalign treatment and overall I’m happy with the results. My doctor warned me that I would feel some soreness, so I was prepared for that. The aches in my teeth seem to go away within a couple days of switching aligners, but my jaw hurts almost continually. I’m not sure if it’s normal and I should live with it or if it means that something is wrong. Any advice?



Dear Morgan,

Some tenderness is normal with Invisalign treatment. As you noted, the aches in your teeth are fleeting as they adjust to their new positions. That’s usually a result of the ligaments being strained as the teeth are pulled to where they need to be, and once they have a chance to relax, they will. The symptoms with your jaw could be similar, or they could be a cause for concern. It’s impossible to say with such little information to go on.

Jaw pain usually means you suffer from a type of temporomandibular joint disorder, which is shortened to TMJ within the medical and dental communities. If you had these aches or pains before, Invisalign will often alleviate them, because your bite becomes properly adjusted. If this is the case with you, it’s quite likely that the symptoms will subside over time. If the discomfort is new, it might be wise to look into any other habits you may have started since you began Invisalign treatment. If you’re clenching, grinding, or biting your trays throughout the day, you could be irritating your jaw muscles. Ideally, if you stop doing it, your pain will dissipate. However, people are often unconscious of these things, and if you can’t stop, you may need to choose an alternate treatment.

It’s a good idea to report these symptoms to your dentist, so he can perform an exam and give you a proper diagnosis. In the meantime, ibuprofen is probably a wise choice, because it has anti-inflammatory properties and can help manage the discomfort. You can also alternate between hot and cold compresses. The combination is usually most effective, but if you feel more relief from one over the other, go with that.

This blog is sponsored by Elgin dentist, Dr. Steve Sirin.

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