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 or Dr. Genetti 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 Drs. Weierbach or Genetti can utilize to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, Drs. Weierbach or Genetti 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. Drs. Weierbach or Genetti 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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After knocking out a front tooth when I was young, Dr. Weierbach and his team have been through a whole journey with me through implants and crowns and more procedures than I can remember. They completely fixed my smile in time for my wedding day and 3 years later it still looks perfect. As someone who is not fond of dentists or procedures, the staff has always been kind and has done everything possible to make me comfortable.

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I have been coming to Dr. weierbach's office for several years now. The staff is very friendly and professional and makes you feel like family!

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Everything was explained to me in advance. Whatever it takes to make you comfortable seems to be their motto. Blankets, music, kindness, and I hear you can even bring your dog!!! It was a great experience despite being a "dentist" appointment.

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I have been a patient of Dr. Weirbach's for almost 15 years. Due to a birth defect, I required a substantial amount of dental work and orthodontics throughout my life. When I needed dental implants and a bridge, Dr. Weirbach came highly recommended. After all of these years, the investment has certainly paid off. Throughout my years at his office, his staff has always been friendly, professional, and provided top notch service. I routinely see Nina for my regular cleanings. Her warm personality, and dental hygiene expertise always makes for an enjoyable visit. I certinaly trust that I am in good hands when visiting Dr. Weirbach and his staff.

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It is a blessing to be a patient of Dr. Weierbach! The warm environment created by Dr. Weierbach and his staff is exceptional. His knowledge and expertise in restorative dental work has been a wonderful gift to my family! My son is almost through the final stages of implants, and his smile is awesome! Throughout our journey, Dr. Weierbach and staff has walked hand-in-hand with us. Thanks for all you do!

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My teeth are a mess and the Doctor has his work cut out for him and his staff. I also suffer from a phobia of changes to my mouth. Not the procedure but the fear of something feeling foreign to my mouth and having to deal with it forever. So far he and his staff have been wonderful and patient.

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Dr. Weierbach provided the best experience I have ever had at a dentists office. The staff was welcoming and efficient. The atmosphere was calm and inviting. From start to finish I felt confident with everything Dr.Weierbach was doing. My implant is perfect and I am so grateful. I would highly recommend his practice!

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My true experiences with Dr.John Weierbach ll D.M.D. since 1989 has been amazing! Thru his great knowledge of Prosthodontic Dentistry and clinical diagnostics he has truly changed my life and restored it back to healthy. He was able to visibly determine the very early stages of tongue cancer. Great KUDOS are given to Dr.Weierbach D.M.D II at the University of Pa.. Thru early detection I was a great candidate for TORS surgery minimal noninvasive surgery. What a great sense of relief that this maverick to dentistry is in our great hometown of Lancaster PA. Wow...impressed!! With much love and respect to the office and all involved in my treatment.

- Renee G

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I had to have a lot of work completed which started in 2008 and was completed in 2009. I was lucky and met Dr.Weierbach by chance but am glad that I did! I am very pleased with the outcome of all the work performed by Dr. Weierbach and all of his staff. I still go back and have my cleanings and checkups with him. All of the work he has done is working out very well and looks and feels as good today as if it was performed yesterday.

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From the very first exploratory phonecall I made, I knew I was going to be in good hands with Dr. Weierbach and his staff. Everyone I encountered from scheduling to procedure was extremely professional and clearly capable but also warm and friendly. Dr. Weierbach patiently and clearly explained the procedure and worked closely with me to ensure I would be satisfied with the results. I am very happy with my Juvederm lip injections and will be returning for future cosmetic procedures.

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