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.
Overall, I have had a great experience since I started going a few years ago. All the staff and Dr. Weierbach take time to get to know you as a person but also how to best meet your needs in the area of dental work. Everyone was very patient and supportive throughout the process of getting my porcelain crowns. I am beyond happy with the result of my teeth. They look so natural and are a huge improvement from before! I definitely couldn't stop smiling after I left the office! I would definitely recommend them for anyone that is interested in improving their smile!
- Brittany B
I would highly recommend Dr. Weierbach especially to patients who haven't been able to get a definite diagnosis for their problem. His expertise and thoroughness was even worth going out of network to find someone to identify the source of my tooth pain. The inclusive follow up visits to ensure my crown was perfect, the amenities and the exceptionally congenial staff were all "icing on the cake"
I was overly impressed with Dr. Weirbach and his staff. I have anxiety when going to a dentist because I'm pain sensitive. I had no anxiety after the first visit because they made sure that my comfort level was #1. I will not have another dentist. The staff always greets you with a smile and they are happy to work with you.
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The dental device that I got to was to help with my snoring when I travel instead of carrying along a CPAP machine. I used it for 2 weeks while out of the country and it worked great. What a great alternative rather than that machine! Thanks John!
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Lots to smile about thanks to Dr Weierbach and his staff!!!!!!
- Diane G
Dr. Weierbach changed my life. I have always hated my teeth and have avoided smiling. Now my teeth are beautiful and white and I have a permanent smile on my face.
- Lisa G
This practice is by far the best I've ever encountered after living in major cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia, and NYC. Dr. Weirbach deserves a 10 out of 10 for all medical providers I have ever met with. Rating: 10 out of 5!
- Nancy B
everyone was very professional in what they were doing, my experience here at weierbach was great, if I had it to do over I would be glad I chose to come here
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I got the zoom whitening and was very impressed. I had next to no discomfort during the procedure. Amanda was extremely friendly and as always Dr. Weierbach was his cheerful self. I'd recommend this to anyone that wants some good looking teeth, you won't be disappointed! Thanks guys.
- Brandon D.
Dr. Weierbach is one of the most professional and knowledgeable persons I know. He has excellant chairside manners, concerned about your procedure and its affect on you. The procedure he helped me with, was sort of an emergancy. I was given an appt. asap. I was more than satisified, made another appt. and would recommend him to anyone. I'm not from Lancaster and travel to have him so my dental work is perfect.
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