If you had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, there's a strong likelihood that it may have affected the joints in your jaw. If you're dealing with clicking, popping, or locking jaw joints due to it, having your teeth straightened by traditional means could be a difficult and dangerous prospect. Read on to learn how you can have straight teeth without causing damage to your jaw joints.
Danger of Traditional Braces
One of the reasons that traditional braces are popular is their ability to both straighten teeth and change the alignment of the jaw. For people with underbites or overbites, this is a great thing, but it can actually be problematic for people with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
If you had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that affected your temporomandibular joints, there's a strong likelihood that the joints have developed scar tissue. In some cases, the jaw may also grow irregularly due to the jaw fusing prematurely, which can put abnormal pressure on the joints.
In either case, while changing the alignment of the jaw itself can be helpful for other people, it could potentially put more pressure on your jaw joints. This could be painful, or in the worst case, it could cause serious difficulty in the use of the joints, limiting your ability to open and close your jaw.
Safely Straightening Teeth
Thankfully, there is still an option to have straighter teeth while leaving your jaw the way it is. Invisible braces or invisalign are designed to gently adjust teeth to a straighter positioning, giving you an aesthetically-pleasing appearance without changing the shape of your jaw.
Invisible braces are extremely effective in straightening teeth, but they don't alter the shape or positioning of the jaw at all. This requires more heavy hardware that's used in traditional braces, which pulls or pushes the jaw into a new alignment with wires and brackets. Invisible braces are more like mouthguards that gently shift the position of your individual teeth.
Added Teeth Protection Bonus
As an added bonus, invisible braces can help to protect your teeth from grinding against each other, which is a common problem for people with temporomandibular joint damage. Since invisible braces are custom-crafted to your teeth, they won't cause any discomfort for your jaw. Most users of invisible braces continue to wear their final pair after they've finished their treatment in order to maintain the new alignment, so your invisible braces can provide years of dental protection and a straighter smile.
Temporomandibular joint damage from rheumatoid arthritis is a literal pain, but it doesn't have to keep you from having straight teeth. Ask your dentist about invisible braces to see if they're a good fit for you.