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 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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- Mary Elizabeth P
I had the best experience with not only the doctor but also with the staff. They all made sure I was comfortable and aware of everything going on. The doctor gives you a step by step of everything and won't be satisfied until your smile is perfect. A total perfectionist in his profession and enjoys seeing his customers happy with the results. You won't be disappointing with his work. When you see the before and after work you will be in shock. Thank You for my new smile.
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Dr. Weierbach and the entire staff were so patient, caring and professional in making sure my dentures were not only usable, but as comfortable as possible. I am very pleased with the results.
- Frank M
I LOOK LIKE A NEW PERSON! My experience at Dr. Weierbach's was incredible. From the second you walk into their beautiful office and are greeted by their friendly staff, you will quickly see that they truly are the best at what they do, and you'll never want to go anywhere else. I had my smile transformed by Dr. Weierbach which included (4) teeth extractions, fillings, cleanings, and 4 crowns. Dr. Weierbach and his staff were not only encouraging throughout the process, however were very pain conscious and made sure that I was not in any discomfort throughout the process. The before and after pictures show a phenomenal difference and I now get complimented on my smile daily, when it was something that I lived my entire life being the most self-conscious about. I couldn't be any more grateful for Dr. Weierbach and his team.
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I CANNOT be ANY more pleased with my new smile. Dr. Weiwenach has helped me be the best version of myself. The caring staff only added to the ease of “going to the dentist”. I will be able to smile the biggest brightest smile at my daughter’s wedding!
- Lisa K
I am a 3rd year dental student and my experience with Dr. Weierbach was exceptional. I was very selective when choosing a prosthodontist to redo my upper two front teeth. From the minute I walked in his practice, to the day I left with my new highly esthetic and natural looking crowns, I was impressed with Dr. Weierbach and his staff. Dr. Weierbach took the time sit down and to answer any and all questions I had. It was evident that Dr. Weierbach keeps up to date on the most relevant and current research. As a future dentist I would highly recommend Dr. Weierbach.
- Christopher F
Not to say everyone will receive dentures for free.But I want to express my heart felt thank you to the Dr and everyone in his office for making me feel so welcome each time I came. I could not eat good food for two years because I did not have dentures but thanks for giving me my smile back.God bless you all.
- Robert M