TMJ / Facial, Head, Neck Pain

TMJ Treatment

Dr. Kerbs is committed to ongoing learning about TMJ. He carefully seeks out the most qualified, state-of-the-art and advanced education opportunities. He has undergone in-depth training at the very prestigious Kois Center. Dr. Kerbs’ focus at the Kois Center was on occlusion (the way teeth come together and function for biting). Dr. Kerbs applies what he learns to help you achieve optimal balance.

From diagnosis to treatment to ongoing management, he can relieve the stress of temporomandibular disorder (TMD/TMJ) and protect joint, teeth and mouth tissues from further problems.


More than 80% of our patients show evidence of grinding and clenching their teeth. We often find that patients are unaware of this habit and unable to see the evidence until it’s too late. Treatment is then needed to repair the damage. Teeth-grinding and clenching can result in:

  • Damage to teeth (creating a sawed-off, aged look), cracked teeth and lost teeth

  • Damage to joints, muscles, TMJ/TMD problems

  • Headaches, pain in the muscles/joints

  • Altered bite, which can cause traumatic occlusion, bone loss and pain

  • Altered facial proportions, creating an old, collapsed look to the lower face

 

Dr. Kerbs will evaluate your joints, occlusion and teeth to determine the best option for relieving your TMJ symptoms and re-establishing balance to your bite and teeth.
Left untreated, damage to the joints can result in the need for major reconstruction of the teeth and bite. If caught early, a simple night guard or NTI device could prevent major problems in the future.
We are committed to your health and well-being. It is our goal to prevent damage to your teeth before it happens and to prevent major restorative costs in your future.

Head, Neck and Facial Pain

Dr. Kerbs has attended thousands of hours of continuing education to be on the forefront of TMD treatments. Dr. Kerbs has helped hundreds of people get out of pain and start living their lives again pain free.

As a holistic dentist, he looks at the source of the problem or the cause. Head, neck and facial pain can be caused from several different things, including poor occlusion, TMJ problems also called TMD, sleep apnea, parafunctional habits including grinding and clenching of the teeth, tongue tie and orofacial myofunctional disorders.

Poor occlusion, also known as a bad bite or misaligned bite can cause trauma to the teeth and muscles of the head and neck. When our teeth come together improperly they can create a cascade of events including broken and worn down teeth, trauma to the bone surrounding the teeth, facial muscle imbalances, facial asymmetry, TMJ problems, which all can lead to headaches and head and neck pain.

TMJ problems, also called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), is a disorder where the joints that allow our lower jaw to move are not functioning properly. The TMJ is the joint that allows us to open our mouth, it allows us to talk, eat and yawn. The TMJ is a very important joint. When the TMJ is not working properly, it can cause inflammation and pain that radiates through the face, head and neck.

Sleep Apnea is a disorder where you wake up several times an hour which disturbs sleep. Research shows that when sleep is disrupted in this way, what follows is a episode of clenching the teeth and grinding the teeth, sleep apnea also causes a decrease of oxygen to the brain. The disturbance of sleep, clenching and grinding and decrease of oxygen to the brain can all cause headaches, migraines, facial pain, head pain and neck pain.

Parafunctional habits are any abnormal behaviors of the oral structures and the associated muscles. Parafunctional habits include clenching of the teeth, grinding of the teeth, excessive gum chewing, non-nutritive sucking, nail, lip or cheek biting. All of these habits cause excessive use of the muscles of the head and neck which can create muscle imbalances which can create pain in the face, head and neck.

Tonge tie, also known as a restricted lingual frenum, is a condition where the small piece of tissue under the tongue is short which doesn’t allow the tongue to move as it should be able to. The tongue is comprised of several muscles and when it is restricted in it's movement it creates a cascade of problems including improper swallowing, improper rest position of the facial muscles, improper talking, improper clearing of the ears and more. All of the listed problems that are associated when the tongue is tied down creates tension in the head and neck which can lead to pain in the face, head and neck.

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders are improper functioning of the muscles of the face, head and neck. Orofacial myofunctional disorders include, tongue thrust, improper swallowing patterns, low tongue posture, improper rest position of the tongue and facial muscles, mouth breathing, open mouth posture, and weak lip seal. When the muscles of the face, head and neck are not functioning properly it can create muscle imbalances which can cause facial pain, head pain and neck pain.

Dr. Kerbs analyzes the structures of the face, head and neck and determines the cause of the pain. Dr. Kerbs then addresses the cause of the pain and is able to get his patients out of pain and create a much healthier situation. Pain can be debilitating, it can completely affect day to day life.

If you experience any pain in the face, head or neck, call Dr. Kerbs for an exam and start living a pain free life.