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.
I can not express how pleased I am with the work I've had done here. Dr. Weirbach and Chelsee are a great team! Chelsee was able to match the color of the filling perfectly, it felt as if they took me back in time before my teeth had any cavities. In fact they may even look better than my natural teeth. I am definitely looking forward to my future appointment!
- Christopher S
Polite and respectful receptionists and office staff. Always greeting the patient by name as soon as they enter the practice. Dedicated dental team. I am very happy with the work and highly recommend Dr. John A. Weierbach II, D.M.D to patients in need. Howard Groff, Jr.
- Howard G
I have been a patient of Dr. Weierbach for over two years being treated with a mouth appliance for sleep apnea. Dr. Weierbach and his staff are so welcoming, friendly, and professional. The office is attractive and very clean. I feel very comfortable when I walk through the door being greeted by the friendly staff. My mouth appliance works very well and it is comfortable to wear all night. I highly recommend Dr. Weierbach to anyone who is searching for a wonderful specialty dentist. You will not be disappointed!
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Dr Weirebach and his staff work diligently to provide not only the best dental care available with the latest techniques but also the greatest patient experience possible.
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As always, my recent experience with Weierbach Prosthodontics was excellent. Dr. Weierbach advised me of options for addressing my situation so I could make an informed decision. He and his staff met all expectations for eliminating the risk of further chipping and restoring my upper front teeth with veneers of the right shape, size and color. If your smile deserves the work of a skilled artist in a relaxing, pleasant setting, then Weierbach Prosthodontics is the place for you.
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From the moment I walked in the door... I was impressed... The waiting room is cozy and a beautiful floral arrangement greets you upon entering. The front desk receptionist was very friendly and had a big welcoming smile! My hygienist was absolutely lovely... She has a great sense of humor and put my mind at ease immediately... Answered all my questions and did a fantastic job! The doctor was also friendly and was quite amusing as well! Overall this was without a doubt the most pleasant experience I have ever had at the dentist.. I highly recommend this office!
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I definitely would recommend this practice. Before coming here I didn't want to smile. After whitening and crowns I can now smile without embarrassment.
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My experience with Dr. Weierbach and staff was awesome. Everyone from scheduling to the hygienists and billing specialists were courteous, competent and professional. The care that Dr. Weierbach shows to his patients is reflected in his entire team. I began wearing dentures a year before my first visit to his office. In October of 2018, he placed 2 lower implants. The comfort, fit and security his new dentures have given me, compared to my old ones, is surprising. I am a very satisfied. confident and grateful customer.
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I would highly recommend this practice to all of my friends and family! Dr. Weierbach is an exceptional prosthodonist who truly cares about his patients. I was impressed with the amount of time he took to evaluate my condition and carefully explain the findings and the treatment plan. I needed a difficult bridge that other dentists would not tackle and I am extremely pleased with the results! His entire staff is very friendly and professional.
- Mike H
Not a day goes by that I don’t count my good fortune in becoming Dr. Weierbach’s patient. His excellent work is more evident to me with each year that passes. While an improved appearance is the clear objective, learning about optimum dental heath from Dr. Weierbach and his staff is a valuable benefit that contributes to my quality of life. The results are lasting, and so is my appreciation. Sincere thanks to the entire Weierbach team for your encouragement and ongoing patient education, and for your resolve to achieve the best possible results during my twenty plus years of dental care with you. Mary Elizabeth P
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