Many people try to push off medical treatments for as long as possible because they don’t want to spend the time or money relieving their condition. Although pushing off treatment will save you time and money, it won’t save you from the pain and consequences that result from not getting treatment. TMJ disorder is no different. If TMJ goes untreated, you put yourself at risk for more painful symptoms, additional medical problems, and a decreased quality of life. Keep reading to find out why you shouldn’t leave TMJ untreated.
Chronic Jaw Pain
One of the first things that will happen if you leave your TMJ disorder untreated is chronic jaw pain. You may have experienced some jaw pain before which prompted you to visit your Spokane Valley dentist in the first place. This jaw pain will only grow exponentially worse as your TMJ disorder goes untreated. It will transform from being occasional to being a constant pain in your life.
Acute pain is usually meant to signal your brain that something is wrong. When you ignore the acute pain and don’t do anything about it, the signal increases and results in constant chronic pain.
Recurring Headaches and Migraines
You may wake up with headaches or migraines on occasion but without TMJ treatment, they will only get worse. The reason you get headaches from TMJ disorders is that the temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull. There are muscles surrounding the joint that span across your skull and down into your neck and back. When the joint becomes inflamed, the inflammation can affect the adjacent muscles and then cause headaches.
Without treatment, the inflammation will continue and the damage will become worse.
As a result, your headaches will only become more frequent and more severe over time. Over the counter pain medications will only go so far.
Inflammation and Joint Damage
Think of your jaw joint like a broken bone. If you don’t put it in a cast and let it heal over time, the break will only get worse. It’s the same story with your jaw joint. If you don’t give it time to rest and heal, your condition will only grow worse.
This can result in even more joint damage and inflammation. It might also require you to get surgery instead of wearing an oral splint. If you want to avoid a costly and painful treatment down the line, don’t leave your TMJ disorder untreated.
Airway Sleep Disorders
A misaligned bite often causes TMJ disorders. Misaligned bites can also compromise your sleep. When you have a misaligned jaw, your jaw doesn’t rest in the proper position in your mouth and can potentially obstruct your airway. This can result in obstructive sleep apnea which is a serious sleep condition that prevents you from getting adequate oxygen at night. Instead, you will wake up repeatedly throughout the night and not get high-quality sleep. During the day you will experience fatigue, brain fog, and more symptoms. One indicator that you have a sleep disorder is loud snoring at night. If your bed partner notices you snoring or waking up coughing and choking throughout the night, you might also have sleep apnea in addition to TMJ.
Decreased Quality of Life
With untreated TMJ, you will experience all types of painful symptoms that can have a huge impact on your quality of life. Your frequent headaches and constant pain can cause you to call out of work more often, turn down social obligations, and spend most of your time feeling miserable in bed. Additionally, jaw pain can prevent you from enjoying your favorite foods. If you noticed that TMJ had an impact on your quality of life, you need to get treatment so you can live the life you deserve.
Suffering Dental Health
TMJ disorders usually go hand in hand with clenching and grinding. Without treatment, you will continue to clench and grind your teeth. Clenching and grinding will eventually wear down your teeth and cause cracks or fractures. This can result in receding gums and the need for significant restorative dentistry to restore your teeth back to their original strength and structure. Letting TMJ go untreated can result in an array of dental problems and necessary treatments down the line.
Imagine a car alarm going off in your head all day long. This is what it’s like to live with tinnitus 24/7. Without TMJ treatment, your tinnitus will only progress. You may become more irritable and find it difficult to concentrate.
When your jaw hurts, you likely won’t want to eat anything but soft or liquid food. This can have a huge impact on which nutrients you ingest and can lead to malnourishment.
Drug and Alcohol Abuse
To deal with the pain, many people turn to opiates or drugs and alcohol to find relief. By not treating your TMJ, you might put yourself at risk for drug and alcohol abuse.
Get TMJ Treatment in Spokane Valley Today
Don’t let all these problems become your reality because you don’t want to treat your TMJ disorder. Our TMJ dentists at Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics can provide you with a custom TMJ treatment plan that resolves your symptoms and prevents additional problems from occurring. All it takes is one simple consultation to start. Please call (509) 927-2273 to book an appointment today.