TMJ or TMD? Well, if you want to get technical, TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint. TMD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. The reality is that patients and dentists alike generally lump both thing together, calling the result TMJ, whether they are referring to the joint itself or to trouble with the joint.

So, for our purposes, we will simply say TMJ and give you the answers to your FAQs.

What Are the Symptoms of TMJ?

The symptoms of TMJ are so varied that they can also be related to other disorders, and that is why TMJ can be so hard to diagnose. They include toothaches, headache, pain in the face, shoulder, neck or jaw, ringing in the ears, ear congestion, loose teeth, fingertip tingling, worn teeth, clenching and grinding of the teeth and more.

The most common symptom, though, is teeth clenching and grinding. And it’s not just a symptom – it’s actually much of the time the cause of TMJ. That is why treatment often involves the use of a mouth guard to stop the patient from grinding. Some people grind at night without even knowing that they are doing it.

Other Causes

Other things besides grinding and clenching can also cause TMJ. They include biting fingernails or pencils, habitually resting the chin in the hand on one side, injuries to the jaw, bad spinal alignment, whiplash, viral or bacterial infections and even poor nutrition. It would probably be easier to tell you what might not cause TMJ than it is to tell you what does cause it.


When you visit us at Dr. James L. Schmidt & Associates in St. Louis, MO for a TMJ assessment, the dentist will examine your jaw and face to determine if there are any irregularities. You might also be referred to another specialist if nothing seems immediately apparent. One thing you can be assured of, though, is that we will do everything we can to isolate the cause of your pain and treat it. We will never allow you to continue to suffer.

All You Need to Know

Really, all you need to know about TMJ is that it hurts. Fortunately, treatments are available. If you think that you might have TMJ, then please contact us at Dr. James L. Schmidt & Associates in St. Louis, MO. You can reach us by phone at 314-968-7979, or you can use the form on our Contact Us page to request a TMJ assessment.