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Suite 300, Moline, IL 61265
(309) 277-3480
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Moline TMJ Dentist

If you’re looking for a TMJ expert to relieve headaches, neck pain, or jaw stiffness associated with TMJ disorder, Dr. Thomas Goebel of Moline, Illinois, can help. TMJ treatment is not a recognized specialty, so there is really no such thing as a TMJ specialist and Dr. Goebel is licensed as a general dentist. However, healthcare professionals recognize that a dentist needs extensive post-graduate training to gain expertise in this demanding dental treatment area. See below for a list of his advanced training in the treatment of TMJ disorder.

What Is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorder is a dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), cartilage connecting your lower jaw (mandible) to the bone on the temple-area side of your head (temporal). A properly functioning jaw joint allows you to speak, chew, and yawn comfortably.

What Are TMJ Signs and Symptoms?

TMJ dysfunction may cause some of the following signs and symptoms:

  • A change in the way your upper and lower teeth meet
  • Chronic headaches
  • Earaches
  • Jaw clicking, popping, stiffness, or locking
  • Radiating pain in your face, jaw, or neck
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

Diagram of skull side-view with the TMJ area detailed and an enlarged view of the joint, ligament, disk, and condyleImproper bite, mispositioned jawbone, trauma, arthritis, and teeth grinding can contribute to TMJ disorder. In many cases, a displaced joint is the culprit. The problem can also be a damaged or displaced disc or muscle spasms. You may hear clicking or popping with jaw movement as the disc attempts to move back into place. The diagram to the right shows the location of the disc and the area of the jaw where the condition occurs. Dr. Goebel’s TMJ training and experience can help him determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment.

How Is TMJ Treated?

TMJ treatment varies with mild, moderate, and severe cases. An evaluation will help Dr. Goebel determine the severity of your case and your treatment options, which may include self-care at home, an oral appliance, full-mouth reconstruction, or TMJ disc surgery in severe cases.

TMJ evaluation

During your evaluation, Dr. Goebel will determine if your signs and symptoms are TMJ-related. He included digital technology to improve workflow and accuracy. The process consists of the following:

  • Comprehensive exam
  • Cone-beam CT scan
  • Digital impressions of your teeth and bite records
  • Facial and occlusal (bite) photographs
  • Digital recording of your jaw movements when chewing, speaking, and swallowing using sophisticated 4D MODJAW™ technology
  • MRI if needed, which Dr. Goebel will coordinate with a radiologist

TMJ treatment options

Mild TMJ cases can often be resolved with self-care and resting the joint as much as possible. Your self-care plan may include the following:

  • Alternate application of ice and heat packs to reduce swelling and help the muscles relax
  • Jaw relaxation exercises
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Avoiding chewing gum
  • Stress-reduction techniques

Other TMJ cases may require at least one of the following:

  • An oral appliance. The TMJ joint structures and degree of displacement affect whether you can benefit from split therapy to relax jaw muscles and improve bite alignment.
  • Full-mouth reconstruction. Complex bite problems may require restructuring how your upper and lower teeth meet. Be aware that properly doing full-mouth reconstruction requires advanced post-graduate dental training.
  • TMJ disc surgery. The disc’s location or condition may require surgery to repair, reposition, or replace it. Dr. Goebel partners with a surgeon if this is the treatment you need.

Dr. Goebel’s Advanced TMJ Training

If you think you are suffering from TMJ disorder, it’s important to get an examination and evaluation for accurate diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Goebel’s extensive training in diagnosing and treating TMJ disorder can help you get relief. His credentials include the following:

  • A graduate of Spear Education in Scottsdale, AZ, where he had studies in complex restorative dentistry and the treatment of TMJ disorder
  • Coursework with Drs. Jim McKee and Drew McDonald at the Chicago Study Club where he studied the Piper Protocol in treating TMJ disorder
  • Membership in the American Equilibration Society where he studied occlusion and jaw function
  • Training with Dr. Brian Shaw at the Piper Education & Research Center in St. Petersburg, FL

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