Scott D. Beallis, D.D.S., Ltd.
Creating Beautiful Smiles

TMJ Therapy

Many adults and teenagers exhibit signs and symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction.  In our practice, we routinely evaluate our patients for these signs and symptoms, which can include the following:

  • Worn or cracked teeth
  • Gum recession
  • Cervical (gumline) erosion of the teeth
  • Muscle pain from opening or chewing
  • Limited opening
  • "Locking" open or closed
  • Clicks in the joint itself (in front of the ear)

We provide basic treatments of TMJ Dysfunction, including education and discussion of what can be done at home, limited bite adjustments, and TMJ Splint Therapy.   We usually refer more complicated TMJ cases to dentists with advanced training in such treatment.

Stages of Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD)

We classify TMD into stages called "Piper Stages".  Those stages are as follows:

  • Stage 1 -   Healthy Temporomandibular Joint
  • Stage 2 -   Muscle Symptoms
  • Stage 3a - Click or pop, non-painful
  • Stage 3b - History of a click or pop, non-painful
  • Stage 4a - Click or pop, painful
  • Stage 4b - History of a click or pop but none currently, painful
  • Stage 5 -   Changes in bite, grinding sound, non-painful

Most cases fall into Stages 2, 3a, or 3b.  These types of cases can be helped with an occlusal splint, and most can be prevented with treatment from progressing to the next, more serious stage.  Patients in Stages 4a, 4b, and 5 often need more complex treatment, and are referred to the proper clinicians.