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.
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.
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!
- Julie D
I consulted three other dentists within the past year, before finding Dr.Weierbach. My experiences under his treatment and the care of his staff are the best I've ever had. I look forward to continuing care in the future.
- James K
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
- Tina M
Everyone was extremely friendly. The procedure was explained in detail and all questions were answered. I would highly recommend Dr. Weierbach and his staff!
- Lori L
I went to Dr Weierbach because I was unhappy about how my current orthodontist was treating my bruxism (teeth clenching at night). He assessed me and suggested trying Botox to relax the muscles. Within MINUTES, I felt relief and my face looked thinner as the muscles relaxed (turns out I was totally ripped, but only on my face, hahaha!). I slept with no guard and no medicine for bruxism for the first time that night in over 20 years. Night two has also passed. I am sleeping better and I have no pain in my jaw in the morning. Literally life-changing!
- Karen S
I will forever be grateful for Dr. Weierbach and his staff. They have truly changed my life. Growing up I was embarrassed of my smile and due to negative experiences in the past, I was afraid to seek help. In May of 2019 I came across Dr. Weierbach's website and was immediately impressed by the patient reviews and photos. After my consultation appointment I knew I had finally found what I had been looking for. Dr. Weierbach, his assistant Chelsea, and the entire team are incredibly talented, kind and professional. They have given me a new smile that I love and have made me feel confident and beautiful.
- Audrey S
My sister and brother both went to Dr. Weierbach and then I did. Our teeth turned out fantastic!! The staff is phenomenal! I feel so confident smiling now!
- Amy Y
We have been seeing Dr. Weierbach since the 1980's. Our entire family has been patients there. A friend of ours had her front tooth broken off in a floor hockey game. She went to Weierbach for emergency treatment. The crown he made for her was perfect! She still tells me about the dentists she has seen since then that didn't recognize her front tooth had a crown! Weierbach does beautiful work...sort of a dental artist!
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I met Dr. Weierbach when I was 18 years old, and a pre-dental college student. Today, I am 23 and will be starting dental school in a couple of weeks! Without a doubt, Dr. Weierbach has been the most positive influence in my journey and truly a mentor figure. Of all the dental professionals I have shadowed in Lancaster, I could quickly tell he not only LOVES what he does, but he also EXCELS at it. He is patient, fair, compassionate, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, intelligent, talented, and someone who values both learning and teaching. In his office, I am never a "shadow," but someone he sees potential in and wants to share his craft with, even taking the time to introduce me to his patients and to talk about life over lunch. I have been thankful for the opportunity to sit in on his courses at Penn Dental as his guest, and to learn about his own mentors and journey into dentistry. Every member of his staff is also a gem. They are professional, invested in their work, genuine, caring, and the best at what they do. They have become another family of mine that I make sure to catch up with and visit whenever I am home over breaks. I feel lucky to have Dr. Weierbach in my life as someone I look up to in all the roles he holds, and can trust with my dental health. He is truly inspirational, and his office and staff are exceptional.
- Victoria C