Karen J Harris, DMD & Associates

Easing the Strain: Effective Treatments for TMJ Pain and Discomfort

Easing the Strain: Effective Treatments for TMJ Pain and Discomfort

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts like a hinge connecting your jaw to the skull. When this intricate system of muscles, ligaments, discs, and bones experiences dysfunction, it can lead to TMJ disorder. The exact causes of TMJ disorder can vary from person to person.

In some cases, it may be due to jaw injuries or arthritis affecting the joint. Teeth grinding or clenching, known as bruxism, can also contribute to TMJ issues. Poor posture and stress-induced muscle tension are common culprits as well.

Furthermore, structural problems with the joint itself or misaligned teeth could play a role in developing TMJ disorder. Understanding these potential causes is crucial in seeking effective TMJ treatments in St. Louis, MO.

Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

When it comes to TMJ disorder, the symptoms can vary from person to person. 

  • Some common signs that you may be experiencing TMJ issues include jaw pain or tenderness, especially when chewing or speaking. You might also notice clicking or popping sounds in your jaw joint.
  • Many individuals with TMJ disorder experience difficulty opening their mouth fully or have a locking sensation in the jaw joint. This can lead to challenges with eating certain foods or even speaking clearly at times.
  • Headaches and facial pain are frequent complaints among those suffering from TMJ problems. The discomfort can radiate from the jaw area to the temples, ears, and even down into the neck and shoulders.
  • In some cases, individuals may also experience ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or dizziness along with their TMJ symptoms. 

It's essential to pay attention to these signs and seek professional help from our dentist in St. Louis, MO if you suspect you have a TMJ disorder. Schedule your appointment NOW!

Treatments for TMJ

If you're struggling with TMJ pain and discomfort, there are various treatment options available to help alleviate your symptoms. 

  • One common approach is the use of pain medications or muscle relaxants to manage the pain associated with TMJ disorder. These medications can provide temporary relief, but they do not address the underlying cause of the problem.
  • Another treatment option for TMJ in St. Louis, MO, is physical therapy, which focuses on stretching and strengthening exercises to improve jaw movement and reduce stiffness. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals whose TMJ issues stem from muscle tension or misalignment.
  • In more severe cases, dentists may recommend oral appliances such as splints or mouthguards to help realign the jaw and alleviate pressure on the temporomandibular joint. These devices can also prevent teeth grinding, a common contributor to TMJ disorder.
  • Surgical interventions are usually considered as a last resort for treating TMJ when other conservative measures have been ineffective. Procedures like arthrocentesis or arthroscopy may be recommended in certain cases to repair damaged joint tissues or correct structural abnormalities causing TMJ symptoms.

Lifestyle Changes to Manage TMJ Symptoms

Living with TMJ disorder in St. Louis, MO, can be challenging, but making some simple lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms. One key aspect is stress management - try incorporating relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises or yoga into your daily routine. Additionally, avoiding hard and chewy foods that put a strain on your jaw can alleviate discomfort.

Maintaining good posture is crucial as well; be mindful of how you sit and stand to prevent unnecessary tension in your jaw muscles. Applying heat or cold packs to the affected area can also provide relief when pain flares up.

Furthermore, practicing gentle jaw exercises recommended by a healthcare provider can strengthen the muscles and improve mobility. Getting an adequate amount of sleep each night is essential for overall health and may contribute to reducing TMJ symptoms over time.

Tips for Preventing TMJ Pain and Discomfort

If you're looking to prevent TMJ pain and discomfort, there are several tips that can help you manage your symptoms effectively. 

  • One of the key strategies is to practice good posture throughout the day. This means keeping your spine aligned and avoiding slouching or straining your neck.
  • Another important tip is to avoid excessive jaw movements like chewing gum or biting on hard objects. These actions can put unnecessary stress on the temporomandibular joint, leading to increased pain and discomfort over time.
  • Stress management techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga can also be beneficial in preventing TMJ issues. Stress often exacerbates jaw clenching and teeth grinding, which are common triggers for TMJ pain.
  • Additionally, using a nightguard while sleeping can help alleviate pressure on the jaw joint and protect your teeth from grinding during sleep. 

It's essential to consult with the dentist in St. Louis, MO, for personalized advice tailored to your specific needs when it comes to preventing TMJ pain and discomfort.

Get in touch with our office, Karen J Harris & Associates, at 2000 Locust, St. Louis, MO 63103, or call (314) 231-4893 to learn more. Our team will be happy to have you here!


2000 Locust, St. Louis, MO 63103

Office Hours

MON - THU 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

FRI - SUN Closed

Get in Touch

Email: kharrisdmd@sbcglobal.net

Phone: (314) 231-4893