Dangers of Untreated TMJ
Since TMJ disorder is easily aggravated by many normal daily tasks, it can be difficult to avoid. Anyone who suffers from TMJ syndrome should seek treatment. Failure to do so may have serious lifelong consequences.
What are the dangers of not treating TMJ?
- Other medical conditions: TMJ can lead to other medical conditions. Most sufferers of TMJ will attempt to alleviate their pain through self medication. Over time, this can lead to addiction. Many TMJ sufferers fall prey to alcoholism and drug abuse if left untreated by a doctor. Constant pain from TMJ, combined with grinding teeth can lead to sleep disturbance and insomnia as well. TMJ symptoms may also contribute to depression, which can negatively impact job performance, relationships, and quality of life. Not treating your TMJ could also lead to malnutrition and possibly eating disorders. This is because some patients try avoiding the problem by only consuming soft foods, liquids, or not eating at all. No one should have to suffer with these other medical conditions since TMJ can be treated permanently through safe, nonsurgical treatment.
- Dental health: Putting off TMJ treatment can lead to additional dental health issues. The grinding and clenching of teeth can lead to fractured teeth and worn down enamel. Sufferers of TMJ tend to favor one side of the jaw over the other which can cause swelling on one side of the face and unsymmetrical muscle growth. This can give the patient a lopsided appearance.
- Tinnitus and jaw problems: Since the joint is located directly beneath the ears, TMJ disorder may lead to tinnitus or even permanently compromised hearing. Inner ear problems can also cause difficulties with balance and cause vertigo, or recurring dizziness. Vision may also be compromised. TMJ can also lead to serious jaw problems, such as locked jaw. The jaw may become permanently stuck open, requiring a trip to the hospital. The breakdown of the cartilage in the jaw can also result in the dislocation of the jaw.
How serious is TMJ?
Temporomandibular joint disorder is misunderstood or underappreciated by many dentists. This can lead to misdiagnoses of conditions such as migraine headaches or neck and upper back pain. While TMJ is not a condition that is life-threatening or permanently disfiguring, it can have a very serious impact on your quality of life. Chronic jaw pain, headaches, ringing in your ears, and difficulty chewing and biting aren’t issues to shrug off; they merit the full attention of a temporomandibular joint expert such as Dr. Frey. Why settle for chronic pain and a diminished quality of life?