What Happens if TMJ Is Ignored?

What Happens if TMJ Is Ignored?

People all over the country suffer from the temporomandibular joint disorder, but many fail to seek TMJ treatment. Far from being a minor nuisance, this condition can be easily aggravated by many daily activities and can cause multiple complications if left untreated. Here are just a few consequences of ignoring symptoms of this disorder and allowing it to progress.

Decreased quality of life

The constant pain caused by TMJ can make routine activities difficult and prevent some people from living a full and active life. 

Chronic jaw pain

Because the pain stems from the main joint in the jawbone, even talking can become arduous. Total silence is not typically an option, which means the pain can continue all day, every day. Without treatment, the pain can worsen over time until it becomes unbearable. 


The jawbone and muscles along the jaw tense up when there is a joint disorder. The muscles in the face run all the way up to the skull, allowing pain in the jaw to travel upwards and cause headaches. Many patients incorrectly assume migraines are the problem when, in fact, TMJ is the culprit. 

Difficulty chewing

The temporomandibular joint is what allows the jaw to move side to side as well as open and close. Pain in this joint can make chewing so painful that some people are forced to go on a liquid diet. Others develop eating disorders from the extreme discomfort of chewing. Overall health and nutrition should not be allowed to suffer because of a treatable joint disorder. 

New medical issues

A jaw joint disorder can not only cause a decrease in quality of life but also lead to new, potentially hazardous medical conditions. 

Dental health complications

When the jaw is out of line, teeth clenching and grinding are typically a side effect, particularly during the night. Regular teeth grinding can wear down the enamel and cause erosion, cavities, and even fractured teeth. In certain cases, the jaw can get locked in the open position and require a trip to the hospital. Irregular and aggravated wear and tear on the jaw can also lead to premature cartilage breakdown, and the entire jaw may become dislocated. 

Inner ear complications

Because it sits directly underneath the ears, problems with the temporomandibular joint can cause hearing issues that may become permanent. Tinnitus, the perception of ringing in the ears, can also occur. This medical condition can lead to further issues such as insomnia. Other inner ear problems resulting from a disorder with this joint can cause balance issues, vertigo, or dizziness. Until the joint is repaired, these issues may continue to occur or worsen. 


Those living with TMJ have many options for treatment. From muscle exercises or medication to injections or surgery, it is important to correctly diagnose and treat this disorder before it causes additional complications. Because a joint disorder like this can range from minor to severe and there is a wide variety of treatment options, it is crucial to consult with a dental professional before deciding on a corrective procedure. 

Request an appointment here: https://familydentistphoenix.com or call Phoenix Family Dentistry at (602) 547-9007 for an appointment in our Phoenix office.


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