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TMJ/TMD Therapy – St. Peters, MO

Relieving Jaw Pain & Restoring Your Smile

Man in pain holding jaw

If you’re experiencing jaw pain or difficulty when opening and closing your mouth, you may have an oral health concern called TMJ dysfunction. Those with this condition can experience serious pain when speaking, chewing, yawning, and even sharing a smile. The good news is, you don’t have to just live with the pain and discomfort. We offer diagnosis and conservative treatments for those who have TMJ dysfunction, and we can help you to relieve your pain and enjoy comfortable function again. During six month dental exams, we’ll screen for this disorder, but you should call us in our St. Peters dental office right away to schedule a consultation if you’re experiencing jaw pain or other warnings signs we’ll review below. The sooner we begin treatment for this condition, the easier it will be to help you reclaim pain free jaw motion.

What is TMJ Dysfunction?

Woman holding jaw in pain

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joints. These small, connective structures attach the jaw to the skull. When properly functioning, the TMJ allow you laugh, talk, and eat all of your favorite foods. When these joints are damaged or strained, sharing even the smallest smile can be extremely painful. When the TMJ are not working properly, patients are said to have TMJ dysfunction or TMD. This oral health condition can have a number of causes, including:

  • Stress – people tend to clench their teeth and tense muscles when experiencing heightened levels of stress, and this can place additional pressure on the TMJ.
  • Teeth grinding and clenching – this condition is called bruxism and it usually occurs during sleep. This unconscious movement can strain the TMJ.
  • Bite alignment issues – teeth that don’t work together properly or a jaw that is misaligned can leave a patient constantly searching for a comfortable resting position for their jaw. This can lead to serious joint pain and limited movement.

Do I Have TMD?

Man examining smile in mirror

The only way to know for certain you’re suffering from this condition is to visit our team for an official diagnosis. We screen for warning signs of TMD during your six month dental checkups, but please let one of our team members know if you notice any of the following warning signs:

  • Jaw pain
  • Difficult or limited jaw movement
  • Clicking sound when opening the mouth
  • Waking with headache or ringing in the ears

How is TMD Treated?

Dentist examining woman’s bite alignment

There are many treatments for TMD, and most are based on addressing the underlying causes of the condition, including stress reduction techniques and orthodontic treatment. An oral appliance is one of the most common and effective solutions for treating TMD. These appliances hold the jaw in its ideal resting position, preventing strain from nighttime grinding and clenching. Over time, wearing a nightguard can train your bite to rest in this comfortable new position, allowing you to maintain optimal jaw function.