Untreated TMJ Questions and Answers
Untreated TMJ can cause serious health problems but don’t worry, treatment is available at Koala® Center for Sleep and TMJ Disorders. Visit our clinic and get proper treatment for TMJ disorder. For more information, call us or book an online appointment.
TMJ, which is an abbreviation of the temporomandibular joint, may also refer to dysfunction of this joint. The temporomandibular joint is the most intricate and sensitive joint in the human body, and because of this, it may be subjected to deterioration and dysfunction. Symptoms of TMJ dysfunction vary from mild to severe and can often be effectively treated with prompt medical care. In cases where TMJ dysfunction is left untreated, it can develop into serious complications, including permanent damage, limited range of motion, and chronic pain.
What are the dangers of untreated TMJ?
The dangers of leaving TMJ untreated include:
- Chronic Jaw Pain — Without treatment, TMJ symptoms may worsen, including jaw pain. When jaw pain is not dealt with, it can turn from occasional to constant, for extended periods of time.
- Joint Damage and Inflammation — The body’s natural response to heal an injury is inflammation, so if the body is not healing pain from TMJ disorder, it will respond with continued inflammation until it is healed.
- Recurring Headaches — Another symptom that can worsen from untreated TMJ pain is headaches, which can increase in severity, intensity and frequency.
- Development of An Airway Sleep Disorder — TMJ disorder is often caused by a misaligned bite, which can compromise a person’s quality of sleep. If the airways become obstructed during sleep, it can result in lack of sleep, neck pain, daytime fatigue and sleep apnea.
- Effects on Life — All of these symptoms place a hindrance on a person’s lifestyle and the way that they live their day-to-day lives. Untreated TMJ pain can negatively impact a person’s mood, eating habits, and even the way they sit and walk.
What are the treatments of TMJ?
Treatments for TMJ disorder vary based on its cause, severity and chronicity (duration). Based on these factors, treatment for TMJ disorder may include:
- TENS (Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation) — TENS is a therapy that works by altering the resting position of the jaw. It does this by sending electrical signals that essentially confuse the muscle memory, allowing them to find the optimal resting position.
- Permanent Stabilization — Permanent stabilization may be necessary if TENS has failed to produce results. It may include orthodontic treatment, the long-term use of an orthotic, the placement of crowns or veneers on the affected teeth, or the creation of a neuromuscular denture.
What are the long-term effects of TMJ?
The long-term effects of TMJ typically only arise from untreated cases; TMJ disorders that receive prompt and professional treatment—such as from a dentist—often recover with no long-term complications. However, long-term effects include:
- Migraine Headaches
- Neck, Shoulder, and Back Discomfort
- Hearing Damage and Loss
- Dependence on Coping Mechanisms
Can TMJ cause permanent damage?
If a TMJ disorder does not receive the proper treatment in a timely fashion, it can lead to permanent damage to the tendons, muscles, cartilage, and articular eminence. This may lead to arthritis, nerve damage, chronic inflammation and can even potentially result in permanent dislocation of the jaw joint.
If you are experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder, it is vital to receive the proper treatment in order to avoid long-term damage. At Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders, we specialize in treating TMJ disorders and can help you find relief, and even make a full recovery. Call us today at (915) 301-8387 to book an appointment with our TMJ doctor, or visit our clinic conveniently located at 6901 Helen of Troy, Ste D-2, El Paso, TX 79911. We serve patients from El Paso TX, Fort Bliss TX, Canutillo TX, Vinton TX, and Northeast El Paso TX.