TMJ Treatment in St. Louis

Pointing to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) on a model school

Ballas Dental provides TMJ Treatment in St. Louis, MO. Call 314-432-5544 to learn more and schedule an appointment.

On each side of your jaw, there is a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that connects it to your skull. These joints act as sliding hinges whenever you open and close your mouth, but when one or both of these joints isn’t functioning properly, it can interfere with your quality of life by causing jaw and facial pain, earaches, headaches, and difficulty eating. This is called TMJ disorder, or TMD.

With TMD, your TMJ may also pop or click when you open your mouth, and you may even experience lockjaw. If you have TMD that is caused by teeth grinding or jaw clenching, your teeth can become worn down or suffer chips and fractures from the pressure.

Types of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

In order to treat TMJ pain, we must first identify the underlying cause. TMD typically falls into one of these three categories:

  • Myofascial pain– This type of pain originates in the muscles surrounding the TMJ. It’s commonly caused by teeth grinding, jaw clenching, or stress that causes muscle tension.

  • Internal derangement of the joint– Often caused by dental or facial trauma, internal derangement of the joint may involve a displaced disc or dislocated jaw.

  • Arthritis– Just as arthritis can attack joints in the knees, hips, and other parts of the body, it can also attack the temporomandibular joints and cause TMD.

TMD Treatment

TMD can sometimes be treated with self-managed care, including cold compresses, a soft foods diet, and over-the-counter pain relievers during flare-ups. When these treatments are not sufficient, schedule an appointment with your dentist for an evaluation. We can determine the underlying cause of your TMJ pain and offer an appropriate solution. Options include:

  • A custom night guard that alleviates pain by repositioning your jaw and protects your teeth from damaging forces.
  • Prescription medication to reduce inflammation, control pain, or relax your muscles.
  • A referral to an oral surgeon who specializes in surgical reconstruction of the joint or  surgical realignment.

Frequently Asked Questions About TMJ Disorders

What can a dentist do for TMJ?

Dentists specialize in treating TMJ disorders; our education isn’t just focused on teeth, but also the anatomy and function of the jaw. We can diagnose your TMD, determine the cause, and treat your pain.

Is TMJ caused by stress?

TMJ disorder may be triggered by stress in some patients. Jaw clenching and teeth grinding can be physical manifestations of stress in the body and both of these habits can cause TMJ pain.

What is the difference between TMJ and TMD?

TMJ is shorthand for the temporomandibular joint, which connects your jaw to your skull and TMD is temporomandibular joint disorder, a condition in which the TMJ causes pain.

What will happen if TMJ is not treated?

If TMJ disorder isn’t treated, it can cause damage to your teeth and jaw, as well as chronic pain that interferes with your ability to eat, sleep, and go about your daily activities.

Do you have to get surgery for TMJ?

No, surgery is usually regarded as a last resort when it comes to TMD treatment. There are many other options to try before we turn to surgical solutions.

Call 314-432-5544 to schedule an appointment.