TMJ Disorders

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are a family of problems related to your complex jaw joint. If you have had symptoms like pain or a “clicking” sound, you’ll be glad to know that these problems are more easily diagnosed and treated than they were in the past. These symptoms occur when the joints of the jaw and the chewing muscles (muscles of mastication) do not work together correctly. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the name for each joint (right and left) that connects your jaw to your skull. Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important.

No one treatment can resolve TMJ disorders completely and treatment takes time to become effective. Dr. Weierbach or Dr. Genetti can help you have a healthier and more comfortable jaw.

Trouble With Your Jaw?

TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles and stressing your TM joint. You may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or disease. Injuries and arthritis can damage the joint directly or stretch or tear the muscle ligaments. As a result, the disk, which is made of cartilage and functions as the cushion of the jaw joint, can slip out of position. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking, or grating noise when you open your mouth or trouble opening your mouth wide.

Do You Have a TMJ Disorder?

  • Are you aware of grinding or clenching your teeth?
  • Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaws?
  • Do you have frequent headaches or neck aches?
  • Does the pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
  • Does stress make your clenching and pain worse?
  • Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
  • Is it difficult or painful to open your mouth, eat, or yawn?
  • Have you ever injured your neck, head, or jaws?
  • Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints?
  • Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite?
  • Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
  • Is it hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food?
  • Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken or worn?

The more times you answered “yes”, the more likely it is that you have a TMJ disorder. Understanding TMJ disorders will also help you understand how they are treated.

Treatment

There are various treatment options that Drs. Weierbach or Genetti can utilize to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, Drs. Weierbach or Genetti will determine the proper course of treatment. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care joined with professional care.

The initial goals are to relieve the muscle spasm and joint pain. This is usually accomplished with a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, or muscle relaxant. Steroids can be injected directly into the joints to reduce pain and inflammation. Self-care treatments can often be effective as well and include:

  • Resting your jaw
  • Keeping your teeth apart when you are not swallowing or eating
  • Eating soft foods
  • Applying ice and heat
  • Exercising your jaw
  • Practicing good posture

Stress management techniques such as biofeedback or physical therapy may also be recommended, as well as a temporary, clear plastic appliance known as a splint. A splint fits over your top or bottom teeth and helps keep your teeth apart, thereby relaxing the muscles and reducing pain. There are different types of appliances used for different purposes. A nightguard helps you stop clenching or grinding your teeth and reduces muscle tension at night and helps to protect the cartilage and joint surfaces. An anterior positioning appliance moves your jaw forward, relieves pressure on parts of your jaw and aids in disk repositioning. An orthotic stabilization appliance is worn 8-10 hours/day or just at night to move your jaw into proper position. Appliances also help to protect from tooth wear.

What About Bite Correction or Surgery?

If your TMJ disorder has caused problems with how your teeth fit together, you may need treatment such as bite adjustment (equilibration), orthodontics with or without jaw reconstruction, or restorative dental work. Surgical options such as arthroscopy and open joint repair restructuring are sometimes needed, but are reserved for severe cases. Drs. Weierbach or Genetti does not consider TMJ surgery unless the jaw can’t open, is dislocated and nonreducible, has severe degeneration, or the patient has undergone appliance treatment unsuccessfully.

Weierbach Prosthodontics

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I have been to MANY dentists, periodontist and surgeons over the years. Thus office, doctor and staff are by far the best ! The attention to detail, the state of the art equipment and the atmosphere of this office are all a 10+! Just had a crown put on (I have several from previous dentist) it looks and feels EXACTLY like my tooth! Shape, color match and feel! I left feeling like I was at the dentist of the rock stars!

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The full staff at Weierbach is outstanding, from how you are greeted to how you are served. Everyone goes the extra mile to make you feel comfortable and put you at ease no matter the reason for your appointment. Following any major procedure, Dr. Weierbach personally follows up to confirm how you are feeling and make sure there is no additional follow-up needed.

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My passion is advocating for children and families of the foster care system. It has led me to take many speaking engagements and craft several pieces of child welfare legislation. I would not change anything, except for needing a beautiful smile to complement my drive, passions and personality. Dr Weierbach and his team have given me that smile. I now have confidence that no matter what situation I am in, my smile will properly reflect my personality and professionalism. Dr Weierbach and his team are like a big family and make you feel right at home from the first visit through the entire process. I cannot say enough about how well the staff came together to achieve the best results for me. It has truly been a great experience and exactly the outcome I was looking for. Thank you, Dr. Weierbach and the entire team for my wonderful smile. Garry Krentz, President PA Child York, PA

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When it was the time for me to choose a dentist to have implants, there was never a doubt who I would choose! Trust is the word to describe Dr. Weierbach and his Staff. I traveled from Florida to Lancaster just so I could have Dr. Weierbach as my prosthodontist. Special Thanks to Chelsee, Amanda, Melissa, Sherry, Susan, Jennifer, and Gretchen.

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Excellent staff and very accommodating. I had a big event coming and wanted some cosmetic work done last minute. Not only did Dr. Weierbach make time to see me and the procedure, his assistant Chelsee came in on her day off to help. I have the smile I always wanted and could not be happier. Thank you!!

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I was referred to Dr. Weierbach for a sleep apnea mouth guard. Everyone in the office was very friendly. They took the time to explain how the device worked and answered my questions well. It's been so nice to be able to sleep without a c-pap!

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I am a dental hygienist and was looking for a dentist who was willing to save my elderly fathers severely broken front tooth. We saw a few general dentists that only gave him the option to pull the tooth and place an implant or a removable prosthesis. I knew of Dr. Weierbach from past family experience and from the dental society. His excellent reputation and many years of experience prompted us to give him a try. I am so glad we made that choice! Dr. Weierbach was able to successfully restore the tooth. In addition, he restored the rest of the front teeth resulting in an improved aesthetic appearance and dental function. It has now been about 2 years, and the teeth are holding strong! Through this experience, Dr. Weierbach has shown that he adheres to a higher skill level of dentistry. Thank you Dr. Weierbach for willing to take on what others would not even consider.

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Once upon a time, 25 YEARS AGO... what I dreaded and thought was going to be a nightmare upon the realization I was a candidate for dental implants and crowns, to my complete astonishment turned out to be a most excellent and rewarding experience. From start to finish, Dr. Weierbach treated me with dignity and respect and gave careful thought to the high level of fear and anxiety he knew was within me. Upon my most recent visit this week, I received loud applause for the EXCELLENT, healthy overall condition of my dental work! In all these years I have had NO problems whatsoever. I could not be more pleased and satisfied with Dr. Weierbach and his amazing skill, that has and continues to make a difference in my life! Thank you Dr. Weierbach and kudos to your entire efficient, very capable and friendly staff!

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