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Memphis TMJ and Sleep Therapy Dentist - Dr. Melody A.
Welcome to the TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Memphis, the Midsouth's only Health Care
professionals devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions.
We are proud to be a part of the world-wide network of TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centres so that we can
continuously give our patients advanced healing and recovery. Our focus on these specific conditions
along with our non-invasive, non-surgical approach results in the most effective diagnosis and
conservative treatment option available.
We recognize and treat each patient as a unique individual and strive to provide personalized care.
After a thorough consultation, a comprehensive diagnosis is completed to determine the appropriate
steps to acheive the safest and the most rapid and lasting recovery. After browsing the information on
our website, please call us to discuss how we can help you heal and return to the quality of life you
Contact Us or Request An Appointment!
If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us
using the information provided below.
Memphis TMJ Doctor
Dr. Barron is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas. She attended the University of Arkansas for her
undergraduate studies receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology. While
working in the hospital medical laboratory, Dr. Barron decided to further her education when she
returned to post-graduate education attending the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry.
She is a graduate of the University Of Tennessee College Of Dentistry, class of 1992. She graduated
with honors, and received the American Association of Orthodontics’ award for interest in the growth
and development of the craniofacial complex for that graduating class.
She and her husband, Dr. Mike McBride, who is a Prosthodontist practiced together for many years at
East Memphis Dental Group. During that time Dr. Barron completed a two and one-half year
continuing education program in orthodontics from the United States Dental Institute. She has treated
patients with general orthodontics (orthodontics performed by general dentists) since 1994.
While attending further continuing education in general orthodontics (orthodontics performed by
general dentists), Dr. Barron became interested in the treatment of Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)
Disorder known as TMD.
She attended a mini-residency followed by an advanced residency for therapy and treatment of the
temporomandibular joint through the TMJ and Sleep Therapy Centre. She has also obtained hundreds
of hours of continuing education. In her treatment of patients with TMJ dysfunction, she found that
many of these patients also suffered from Sleep Disordered Breathing or Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Dr. Barron has experienced and understands TMD from the patient's point of view because she,
herself, suffered from TMJ Disorder for many years with debilitating headaches, neck and back pain.
Within her training to treat the disorder, Dr. Barron was diagnosed and treated successfully by Dr.
Steven Olmos who is the founder of the TMJ and Sleep Therapy Centres nationally and internationally.
Dr. Olmos is now her mentor.
Dr. Barron feels very dedicated as a health care provider to the people of the Midsouth. She
recognized that the Midsouth area was in need of this progressive and innovative care. She chose to
become an owner and director of the TMJ and Sleep Therapy Centre of Memphis.
Dr. Barron holds certifications and/or memberships in the following:
American Academy of Craniofacial Pain (AACP)
International Association of Orthodontics (IAO)
American Association of Functional Orthodontics (AAFO)
North American Association of Facial Orthotropics (NAAFO)
American Academy of Pain Management (AAPM)
American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM)
American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM)
American Dental Association (ADA)
Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorders Dentistry (ACSDD)
TMJ & Sleep Apnea Therapy in
Head, neck and facial pain affects a significant percentage of the population (one in every four
Americans) seeking care for both acute and chronic pain in the medical model we deal with everyday.
The majority of temporomandibular disorder (TMD) sufferers are women, although men, young
children and adolescence are also affected. Too often patients endure a frustrating and expensive
doctor to doctor search to find answers for relief of symptoms.
These patients may seek Help first from you, their Primary Care Provider.
Pain is a “disease” entity affecting a significant portion of the general public. It is estimated that 700
million man-days of work are lost each year as a result. It is further estimated that 500 million dollars
is spent on the sale of non-prescription analgesics while another $1.2 billion is spent on prescription
medications for the relief of pain.
Of this picture, head, facial and neck pain constitute a significant portion. When the time spent on the
promotion of analgesics aimed at headache sufferer through the media is examined, the scope of the
problem becomes apparent. Today it is widely recognized that a group of problems, “craniomandibular
disorders,” are responsible for a significant portion of these symptoms.
Craniomandibular disorders are also responsible for a variety of ear symptoms including pain, ringing,
buzzing, loss of auditory acuity and congestion. In addition, the suffer may experience pain or noises
(clicking and/or grating) of the temporomandibular joint with movement as well as limitation of
The most common symptom of TMD is noise in the joint, but it can also present without the joint
noise. This noise is usually related to the rapid reduction of the fibrous disc malpositioned between the
condylar head and the glenoid fossa. The sound is often accompanied by a restricted mandibular
range of motion.
Pain is usually localized in the muscles of mastication, the accessory muscles of mastication in the
posterior cervical area, the temporomandibular joint and the area about the ears. Many of these
patients complain of:
Limited mandibular movements or locking open/closed
TMJ sounds; clicking, popping, grating
Ear fullness or pain with no apparent other etiology
Neck pain or stiffness
Trauma, disease and developmental disorders can lead to internal derangement of the TM joint. This
occurs when the normal physiologic relationship of the condyle, disc and fossa have been altered and
compromised. Discomfort in the jaw joint can be the results.
It is becoming clear that a dentist who is specially trained in treating these disorders, can best direct
The nature of the problem
Craniomandibular disorders occur when the structural integrity of the TMJ and/or the physiologic
orthopedic relationship of the maxilla and mandible is not present. When this exists, stresses are
produced within the stomatognathic system and pain and/or dysfunction frequently results. This may
occur in the joint, supporting the ligaments and associated musculature.
Craniomandibular disorders, in their broadest view, are classified as intracapsular and extracapsular
Intrancapsular disorders are characterized by structural alterations of the temporomandibular joint,
which interfere with form and function and frequently produce pain.
These consist of such entities as degenerative osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and neoplasms.
Developmental Disorders: These problems occur as a result of abnormal development of the joint.
These occur when trauma is induced to the jaw, either by direct or indirect. Micro or macro trauma
can be an etiologic factor (i.e. whiplash).
These derangements occur when the physiologic relationships of the condyle, disc and fossa
relationship have been lost. These comprise the vast majority of problems. Because of the frequency
of occurrence, this problem will be addressed in detail.
In the normal anatomy of the TMJ, seen in Figure 1, the three major components of the TMJ are
identified. The articular fossa (A) is formed from a depression in the temporal bone of the skull.
Articulating in this fossa is the mandibular condyle (B). The two of these form a type of “ball and
socket” articulation. Interposed between these structures is a fibrous pad, the articular disc (C), Along
with other functions, the disc acts as a “shock absorber” between the fossa and the condyle, keeping
the bones from rubbing on each other and assuring a smooth functioning joint.
In a typical derangement, the disc assumes an abnormal position forward of the condyle due to the
stretching or tearing of the discal attachment apparatus. It has been referred to as a “slipped disc” of
When this is present, a click is heard during opening movements on the affected side(s) and is also
frequently present during closing. The noise may be audible but frequently requires a stethoscopic
auscultation or the use of sophisticated instrumentation such as doppler ultrasound or digital
sonography. This condition is termed an “anterior disc displacement with reduction”.
In Figure 2 the functional mechanics of the problem are illustrated. In the closed position, the disc is
located anterior of the condyle. At some point in the opening movement the slack in the discal
attachment is taken up and the condyle slips under the disc with a pop or click being produced. On the
closing movement, the disc again slips off the c
ondyle and a closing click is elicited. The closing click is frequently softer in its intensity and is more
difficult to hear.
If this condition is left untreated, it may ultimately result in an “anterior disc displacement without
reduction,” frequently referred to as a “closed lock.” In this condition, because of the trauma and
constant abuse to the disc, alterations in form occur. The patient presents with limitation of motion
because the disc does not reduce to its normal position during opening and acts as a mechanical
obstruction with a “wedging action” being produced. This prevents normal translation of the condyle.
In both of these dsyfunctions, degenerative osteoarthritis is frequently the long term result. This may
produce severe alterations in form and function.
Derangements of the temporomandibular joint may be painless but most often are accompanied by
pain-often severe-in the head. This principally occurs in the temporal, periorbital and suboccipital
regions. In addition, facial pain and neck pain are encountered. This pain may emanate from the joint
itself (with or without referral to other areas of the head) or from muscle dysfunction such as spasm
and myofascial trigger points.
Extracapsular disorders occur when the mandibular trajectory of closure from its acquired postural
rest position is not coincident with physiologic TMJ/neuromuscular trajectory of closure.
When the condyles are properly positioned within the glenoid fossa with the articular disc in its proper
relationship to these structures and the mandibular musculature functioning at its optimal length, a
physiologic trajectory of movement through space to closure is produced. If, however, the dental
occlusal relationship is not coincident with this trajectory, an accommodative trajectory- and therefore
an adjusted postural rest position of the mandible- must be produced. This occurs as a result of
proprioceptive input with resultant adjustment of position. In addition, to the adjusted postural rest
position of the mandible in the sagittal and frontal plane, a decrease in the vertical rest position of the
mandible is also frequently encountered, forcing the muscles to function at less than their optimal
As a result:
Improproper Occlusion of the Teeth: When teeth do not fit together properly, it causes sustained
microtrauma to the joints. When this condition is prolonged, the body begins to compensate by
involving muscles in other areas: the neck, throat and upper back.
This goes hand-in hand with internal jaw joint problems. Any condition prevents the complex systems
of muscles, bones and joints from working together in harmony can contribute to TMD. Various ways
this system can be disrupted include trauma, connective tissue disorders, arthritis or skeletal
Poor posture places unnecessary wear and tear on the joints including the jaw joints. Over time,
consequences of postural neglect can be as damaging as an injury.
Increased physical and emotional stress is another factor that impacts patients with TMD as it reduces
the adaptive capabilities of the jaw. Some patients unconsciously brux and/or clench their teeth in
response to increased stress. Chronic clenching and bruxing creates strain on the TM joints and
muscles which can exacerbate TMD problems.
As a result of this adjusted postural position, the stomatognathic musculature and TMJ’s must exist in
a “stressed” condition. With this condition present, joint pain as well as muscle dysfunction (spasm
and myofascial trigger points) are produced. This causes similar subjective symptoms as those
encountered with intracapsular problems, with the exception of joint noises. A representation is seen
in Figure 3
Up to this point, primary emphasis has been on the various head and facial pain symptoms
encountered with craniomandibular disorders. It must be recognized, however, that a strong and
direct biochemical relationship exists between all the muscles of the head and neck. As a result of
reciprocal muscle function, dysfunction and pain in the stomatognathic muscles frequently results in
dysfunction and pain in the cervical muscles, with resultant neck pain. This may ultimately involve the
entire upper quarter. Also, because of the diverse distribution of the trigeminal nerve, nociceptive
input in one area may ultimately produce pain anywhere along that division.
In addition, because of the strong relationship of the stomatognathic and otologic systems from both
an embryologic as well neurologic and functional perspective, ear symptoms are frequently found in
craniomandibular disorders. These consist of congestion, pain, buzzing, ringing, loss of auditory acuity
and equilibrium problems.
The factors responsible for craniomandibular disorders may be single or multifactorial. Development
factors responsible for a malrelationship of maxilla and mandible is a frequent finding. The symptoms
may emerge during childhood or may not occur until adulthood after years of day to day trauma.
Some cases may be iatrogenic in nature. For example, the loss of teeth without adequate replacement
may cause a change in jaw position. In addition, direct trauma to the jaw can be a factor. It is also
accepted that indirect trauma, such as whiplash type injuries, can produce TMJ disorder. It is known
that a significant portion of cervical whiplash injuries have an accompanying mandibular whiplash.
This type of trauma can produce stretching or tearing of the ligaments in the joint and also cause
damage within supporting musculature.
Besides the obvious causes, there are cases where the exact etiology is difficult to determine.
What to do
If standard medical evaluation and diagnostic testing have failed to reveal a cause for the symptoms
discussed here referral to a dentist specially trained in the diagnosis and treatment of
craniomandibular disorders and orofacial pain should be considered. Many dentists do not treat or are
not trained to treat these problems, however, and consequently a blanket referral of “see your
dentist” may not be appropriate.
Head, facial, neck pain, jaw dysfunction, and ear symptoms and ear symptoms are common findings
in the general population. Craniomandibular disorders are a frequent cause. Because of its common
occurrence, it should always be included in the differential diagnosis in patients with these symptoms.
Our practice utilizes advanced computerized electronics to obtain necessary data such as accurately
detecting jaw joint sounds with Joint Vibration Analysis. This provides a far greater degree of accuracy
than the human eye or stethoscope can detect. We employ Spiral Tomographic Radiographic Scanning
as well as other special radiographic studies.
Positive findings in these studies usually indicate that the dentist is the supporting provider to the
referring health care professional. Working together with the patient’s physician or other health care
professional brings effective team management to the patient to correct the problem.
With many hours of special education, training, experience and modern diagnostic skills, we bring a
great deal to the health care team addressing the special needs of the head, neck, “TMJ” or facial pain
Once accurately diagnosed, conservative treatment methods, rather than surgery or drugs, are often
the most successful for long-term pain relief. This results in the teeth, muscles, joints all working
together in harmony. If a bad bite is determined to be a potentially contributing factor, usually
custom-made orthotic (also known as a “splint”) is fit to stabilize the new postural position of the jaw
and other skeletal elements.
Along with orthotic, adjunctive treatments that may be suggested (if necessary) include referrals to
other professions and other modalities such as:
Spray and stretch
Trigger point injections
When medical evaluation and tests have not revealed the “cause” of symptoms…
TMD Dentistry may be the answer for your patients.
Laser, dental procedures such as orthodontics or reconstruction may be required as more permanent
forms of treatment.
Consult with us for undiagnosed head, neck, facial pain, whiplash injuries, jaw malposition or Tm joint
arthritis. Dentistry brings a new approach to diagnosis and treatment along with providing objective,
fully documented case reports.
Memphis TMJ Treatment Center
New Patient Info
If you are a new patient to our office, the attached file contains our new patient bundle with forms
that will need to be filled out when you arrive at our office. Printing them, filling them out and
bringing them with you will allow us to attend to your medical needs more quickly than completing
them on your arrival. Thank you and please call our office if you have any questions at all.
Patient Forms (coming soon)
This web site uses files in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format
Acrobat® Reader for viewing and printing. It is available to download free.
(pdf) which require Adobe®
For your convenience, we accept cash, personal checks, money orders and major credit cards.
Payment is expected at the time services are performed. When more extensive dental care is
necessary, financial arrangements can be made with our office.
Stop Snoring Oral Mouth
After establishing your optimal breathing position, your dentist will fit you with an oral appliance. An
oral appliance looks like an athletic mouth guard, but much less bulky. Using the Eccovision, your
dentist can place the oral appliance correctly, allowing for maximum airway patency. The oral
appliance gently holds your jaw in the right position to maintain proper airway function as you sleep.
Successful treatment is achieved by simply wearing the oral appliance at night.
It is important that you treat your disordered breathing problem as soon as possible.
SDB has been linked to
Attention deficie/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD)
Sleep is a major part of our overall health.
The following is a brief quiz from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine may provide a clue as to
how healthy your sleep is.
If you answer true more than twice, you may want to discuss this quiz with your dentist, physician, or
other health care professional. Ask about the possibility of oral appliance therapy.
I feel sleepy during the day, even when I get a good night’s sleep.
I get very irritable when I can’t sleep.
I often wake up at night and have trouble falling back asleep.
It usually takes me a long time to fall asleep.
I often wake up very early and can’t fall back asleep. I usually feel achy and stiff when I wake up
in the morning.
I often seem to wake up because of dreams.
I sometimes wake up gasping for breath.
My bed partner says my snoring keeps her/him from sleeping.
I’ve fallen asleep driving.