TMJ Treatment

How Long Does TMJ Last | Perfect White Smile

February 23, 2024

ave you ever wondered how long TMJ disorder lasts? TMJ disorder, often abbreviated as TMD, is a condition that affects the joints connecting your jawbone to your skull, causing various symptoms like pain in the jaw and difficulty in chewing and clicking or popping sounds in the jaw. 

In this guide, we will delve into the duration of TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder, the factors influencing its duration, and what you can do to manage it effectively.

Understanding TMJ Disorder:

Before we discuss "How long does TMJ last?", let's first understand what it is. TMJ disorder is a group of conditions affecting the temporomandibular joints and the surrounding muscles. These joints are essential for activities like chewing, speaking, and yawning. When these joints become dysfunctional, it leads to various symptoms, including jaw pain, stiffness, clicking or popping noises, and difficulty opening or closing the mouth.

How long does TMJ disorder last?

How long TMJ disorder lasts can vary greatly from person to person. For some, it might just be a temporary issue that goes away within a few weeks or months. However, for others, it could be a long-term problem that sticks around for months or even years. 

The duration of TMJ disorder depends on several factors, like how severe the symptoms are, what's causing the problem, how effective the treatment is, and how the individual responds to it. 

By getting the right diagnosis and following the appropriate treatment plan, which could include lifestyle changes, therapy, medications, or sometimes surgery, people can often reduce the duration of their TMJ symptoms and improve their jaw's overall function. If you're dealing with TMJ issues, it's crucial to see a healthcare professional to get personalized advice and treatment.

Factors Influencing Duration:

Several factors can influence how long TMJ disorder lasts for an individual:

Severity of Symptoms:

The intensity of TMJ symptoms is a key factor in determining its duration. Those with mild symptoms may experience shorter durations, while individuals with severe symptoms may endure prolonged discomfort.

Underlying Causes:

The root causes of TMJ disorder, such as jaw injury, teeth grinding (bruxism), arthritis, or stress, can impact how long it persists. Addressing these underlying factors through appropriate treatment and management strategies is crucial for reducing the duration of TMJ symptoms.

Treatment Approach:

The chosen treatment for TMJ disorder also affects its duration. Non-invasive treatments like lifestyle adjustments, physical therapy, and medications may alleviate symptoms and shorten the duration. However, individuals requiring surgical intervention may experience longer recovery times.

Individual Response:

Each person responds differently to treatment, affecting the duration of TMJ disorder. Factors such as overall health, treatment plans, and lifestyle habits can influence the rate of symptom improvement and recovery.

What happens if TMJ is not treated?

If TMJ is not treated, the consequences can worsen over time, leading to various complications. Here's what could happen:

Increased Pain:

Without treatment, TMJ pain can get much worse over time. While over-the-counter pain relievers might help temporarily, they don't fix the underlying issue.

Sleep Disturbances:

TMJ caused by teeth grinding can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to issues like insomnia, depression, confusion, or brain fog.

Dental Problems:

Teeth grinding related to TMJ can damage teeth, leading to cracks or chips. Other symptoms may include jaw clicking, tongue marks, tooth sensitivity, and toothaches.

Ear and Vision Issues:

As the temporomandibular joint is located near the ears, untreated TMJ issue can lead to conditions such as tinnitus or inner ear problems like dizziness. It may also negatively impact vision.

Jaw Complications:

Untreated TMJ can worsen jaw problems over time, including jaw locking, which may require urgent medical attention. It can also damage the jaw cartilage, potentially leading to jaw dislocation.

Difficulty Eating:

TMJ sufferers may experience difficulties chewing and biting, making it painful to consume anything other than soft foods. Swelling in the jaw or face may also occur.

How to Treat a TMJ Flare-Up?

TMJ can be treated in the following ways:

At the Dentist

Treating TMJ involves using a mouthguard, which is a common method to alleviate symptoms and address the underlying condition. These mouthguards act as a cushion for both your jaw and teeth, easing pressure and TMJ symptoms while also preventing nighttime teeth grinding and jaw clenching.

Getting a custom mouthguard made is a simple process with your dental team. They can create a well-fitted guard using an impression of your mouth, shaping it from a comfortable yet durable material.

At Home

At home, you can use heat or ice packs on your face for 20 minutes per hour to ease pain and reduce swelling. Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication and gently massaging the area can also aid in healing.

In the long term, focus on minimizing stress whenever possible. Try to incorporate more exercise into your routine, take breaks from work, and spend time with family and friends. Avoid hard or crunchy foods to help manage TMJ symptoms.

How to manage TMJ Disorder?

While the duration of TMJ disorder can be unpredictable, several strategies can help manage its symptoms and improve overall quality of life:

Lifestyle Modifications:

Practice stress-reduction techniques, maintain good posture, avoid chewing gum or hard foods, and minimize activities that strain the jaw.

Physical Therapy:

Engage in exercises to strengthen jaw muscles, improve jaw mobility, and reduce pain.


Some pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs may help alleviate TMJ symptoms.

Dental Treatments:

Mouth guards or oral splints can help prevent teeth grinding and reduce jaw muscle tension.

Surgical Intervention:

In severe cases of TMJ disorder that do not respond to conservative treatments, surgical options such as arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, or open-joint surgery may be considered.


So, How long does TMJ last? Well, the duration of TMJ disorder varies depending on individual factors and the effectiveness of treatment. Individuals affected by TMJ disorder can reduce symptom severity and improve overall jaw function by understanding the factors influencing its duration and implementing appropriate management strategies. 

If you're experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and personalized treatment recommendations. With proactive management and tailored interventions, individuals can effectively manage TMJ disorder and minimize its impact on daily life.

Ready to address your TMJ concerns? Book an appointment with Perfect White Smile in Beverly Hills, CA, today. New patients can call us at (424) 284-8215, while all other callers can reach us at (310) 276-4537.


How long does TMJ last without treatment?

TMJ duration varies, but without treatment, symptoms can persist for weeks, months, or even years, depending on individual factors.

Can TMJ go away on its own?

In some cases, TMJ symptoms may resolve spontaneously, but without proper treatment, they can recur or worsen over time.

What affects the duration of TMJ symptoms?

Factors like the severity of symptoms, underlying causes, treatment approach, and individual response to treatment can influence the duration of TMJ disorder.

How Can We Help

The smile of your dreams starts with a consultation.

Located in Beverly Hills Perfect White Smile creates the world's most beautiful smiles and relieves patients of TMJ symptoms. Many times, both can be achieved at the same time in the same procedure!

Book Now