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.

Weierbach Prosthodontics

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Patient Review

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

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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

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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

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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!

- Celeste F

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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

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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

5 out of 5 stars on

Patient Review

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

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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

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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!

- Jane M

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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.

- Barry S

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