How Long Does TMJ Last?

One week of TMJ dysfunction symptoms can seem like an eternity. Pain, lost sleep, and other difficulties make TMJ seem unbearable. Fortunately, you can minimize the effects of TMJ with early diagnosis and treatment. Continue reading to learn how long does TMJ last and why you should not ignore its symptoms.

If you have jaw pain, schedule an appointment at Trident Dental for a comprehensive oral examination and TMJ evaluation.

What Causes TMJ Pain?

Determining the cause of TMJ pain can be difficult due to your temporomandibular joint’s (TMJ) complex anatomy and movements. Damage to the joint’s shock-absorbing disk, cartilaginous covering, or articulating bones can cause pain and other symptoms. The hinge-like and sliding motions make the TMJ uniquely susceptible to injury. Although the diagnosis of a cause is challenging, several factors can increase your risk of TMJ pain, such as:

  • Bruxism or chronic teeth-grinding.

  • Trauma to the jaw or face.

  • Arthritis and fibromyalgia.

  • Missing or misaligned teeth.

  • Chronic stress.

  • Hormonal imbalances.

  • Habits such as biting your fingernails or ink pens.

  • Chewing ice.

  • Poor posture.

  • Chewing gum excessively.

What Are the Symptoms Of TMJ?

The symptoms of TMJ dysfunction are more prevalent in women and occur most often between ages twenty and forty. The most common symptoms include:

  • Pain. The pain can appear in one or both joints located in front of each ear. It can also radiate down the jaw into the neck and shoulder areas. This pain can worsen during opening or closing your mouth and while eating. In many cases, it is worse in the mornings.

  • Clicking or popping joint noises. Not everyone who has a clicking joint has TMJ. However, if your joint noise is accompanied by pain, you need to seek a professional TMJ evaluation.

  • Joint stiffness. TMJ dysfunction causes tight jaw and facial muscles that can make joint opening and closing movements difficult and painful. This can result in your jaw locking open or closed.

  • Altered diet. Due to pain when chewing certain foods, many people will change their diet. While this may not cause problems in the short term, chronic TMJ can lead to nutritional deficiencies. 

  • Ear pain or ringing. Because the temporomandibular joint is located close to the ear, TMJ is often misdiagnosed as an ear infection or allergy.

How Long Does TMJ Last?

Some cases of TMJ can last a few hours in the morning and resolve without treatment. Others can cause mild to severe symptoms for a few days or longer. Each case is different and determined mainly by the cause of the dysfunction. When pain and other symptoms persist, you can experience damage to your teeth and more severe damage to the TMJ’s bone, cartilage, muscles, and fibrous disc.

What Are the Consequences of Chronic Untreated TMJ?

While TMJ is not a life-threatening condition, it can have serious consequences for your oral and general health, such as:

  • Excessively worn teeth.

  • Chipped and fractured teeth.

  • Damaged dental fillings and crowns.

  • Loss of sleep.

  • Sleep apnea.

  • Anxiety and depression.

  • Permanent jaw damage such as jaw dislocation.

  • Cognitive impairment.

Schedule Appointment

Early diagnosis and treatment of TMJ are often critical to a successful outcome. Contact us at Trident Dental to learn how we can help you with any questions or problems you might have about jaw pain and other symptoms of TMJ. 

Schedule Appointment

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