What Will Happen If The TMJ Disorder Is Untreated?

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What Will Happen If The TMJ Disorder Is Untreated?

Nov 01, 2019

TMJ syndrome affects the Temporomandibular Joint which connects the jaw and the skull and lets you move the jaw with ease. However, when it gets irritated or inflamed, the pain can be unbearable. Furthermore, pain can be aggravated when we chew, talk, or even yawn. For this reason, you should seek medical attention immediately you notice these symptoms.

The exact cause of TMD is unknown, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of factors such as jaw injury, arthritis, and bruxism (clenching and grinding of the jaws).


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What Are the Symptoms?

TMD causes severe pain which can be temporary or chronic, and it may affect one or both sides of the jaw. Common symptoms include;

  • Pain and tenderness in the jaw joint, face, neck and shoulders
  • Clicking and popping sounds
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Swelling on the face
  • Toothaches, headaches, and hearing problems.

Risks of Untreated TMJ

A TMJ disorder is not life-threatening, but, without the proper treatment, it can negatively affect your life and cause other disorders over time.

  1. Insomnia and sleep disturbance

    According to research, over 50% of TMD patients have poor sleep quality which is associated with increased pain and psychological stress. The pain combined with bruxism can also cause insomnia—difficulty falling or staying asleep.

    Insomnia can further cause tiredness, irritability, and problems with memory or concentration. Treating TMJ is a possible way of getting rid of your insomnia. You can also try relaxation exercise and sleep reconditioning therapy by going to bed at the same time each night.

  2. Premature wear and tear of teeth

    TMD can affect your dental health, mainly because of the grinding and clenching of the teeth. Bruxism is the unconscious clenching of teeth when asleep or awake. Mild bruxism doesn’t cause complications. However, the constant grinding of teeth can cause your jaw and teeth to wear and also damage any dental restoration or crowns that you may have.

    You may also experience severe jaw and facial pains. In severe cases, you could also require teeth extraction.

    Bruxism symptoms include worn tooth enamel, increased tooth sensitivity, tired and tight jaw muscles, and jaw soreness.
    A mouth guard and splint may help separate your teeth and avoid damage.

  3. Asymmetrical muscle growth

    One-sided TMD pain can lead to asymmetrical muscle growth because you will favor the other side while chewing. Moreover, the imbalance can lead to weaker muscle.

    Although at times asymmetry of the face is normal, TMD related mouth muscle imbalance can cause serious conditions like Bell’s palsy.

  4. Tinnitus

    Chronic TMD can lead to tinnitus or ringing or buzzing in the ears. Tinnitus can either be;

    • Subjective where only you can hear the noise
    • Objective tinnitus the doctor hears the sound when examining your ear.

    Tinnitus can cause fatigue, stress, depression, memory problems, anxiety, and irritability.

  5. Airway Sleep Disorders

    Obstructed Sleep Disorders and TMD are correlated. As TMJ disorder progress, it pushes the back lower jaw and the soft tissues and blocks the airway.

    Obstructive sleep disorders provoke low oxygen supply at night causing chronic headaches that worsen in the morning.

  6. Malnourishment

    Due to the TMJ pain, patients can prefer eating soft foods and liquids which can eventually cause eating disorders and malnourishment.

    You may also experience chronic joint inflammation, recurrent intense headaches. In severe cases, you could have permanent loss of function in your hands and fingers.

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When to See a Doctor

When you have persistent pain or tenderness or can’t open your jaw, come to Millennium Smiles, the pioneer of TMJ therapy in Frisco.

At our dental clinic in Frisco, TX we employ the TMJ therapy that is a noninvasive method recommended for TMJ disorders. This treatment lasts for 12 to 16 weeks depending on the severity of the disorder and offers a 95% success rate. For the unsuccessful cases, we use Phase II therapy to provide relief.

Schedule an Appointment

Dr. Korous is highly experienced and knowledgeable in dealing with dental disorders like TMD. Call us today if you are seeking relief from TMJ disorders.

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