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 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 Dr. Weierbach can utilize to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, Dr. Weierbach 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. Dr. Weierbach 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.

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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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I have had dental implants for thirty years due to a car accident. I was having severe pain and irritation from my dental implant appliance. Dr Weirerbach knew exactly what was needed, it didn't fit properly and the hardware was outdated. The temporary appliance fit better than the actual appliance I had from a prior dentist. I have my permanent appliance now and it is absolutely beautiful and better yet it fits perfectly. My teeth look real and very much like my actual teeth looked. I am very anxious at the dentist and Dr Weirerbach and all of his staff were very accommodating and kind. I could not be more thrilled and grateful for my new smile and the fabulous customer service provided. I highly recommend Dr Weirerbach and staff!

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My teeth were so terrible I was petrified even to think of going anywhere to have a consultation I found myself not smiling, I won'tdidnt want to socialize so one day I ran into a friend of mine I hadn't seen for a long time she had the most beautiful smile so I asked her who is your dentist her reply was doctor John Weierbach 2nd she said hes not just a Dennist he does it all.So I looked him up on his website and wrote an email I kept that he mail for 2 weeks as a draft it was so hard for me to hit that send button because I was so ashamed of my teeth! Well the day I hit send I received a reply set up an appointment for a consultation I was so petrified to go but the day I went sat down had the consultation of what could be done was totally amazing when I got there not 1 person looked at me in a weird way,I myself knowing how terrible my teeth looked they treated me as a normal everyday person that had nothing wrong I felt so at ease not embarrassed at all wow why did I wait so long the doctor and his staff went above and beyond to make me feel comfortable and unashamed now that all procedures are complete I feel like a whole new person with over 100% confidence I feel beautiful again and my smile Oh what a most gorgeous smile Dr. Weierbach and his staff have given me I can't thank them enough I highly recommend Dr. Weierbach 2nd nand his staff to anyone they are so kind polite ,professional and go above and beyond their Call of Duty as I've not only gained a gorgeous smile I've also gained a whole new family so Dr. Weierbach Melissa Chelsea Amanda Cheri Jen and everyone else thank you from the bottom of my heart you are all very very special when I came home after my final procedure I could not stop looking in the mirror thanks for helping me find myself again with total confidence and non stop smiling you are all the best there is to be always Tina

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