How Long Does It Take for TMJs to Heal?

How Long Does It Take for TMJs to Heal?

Oct 01, 2022

The jaw or temporomandibular joints are among the most utilized joints in your body. For example, you use them whenever you open, close, or slide your mouth to eat, talk, sing, yawn, or laugh.

Therefore any pain and discomfort in them can negatively impact your quality of life.

The pain may be temporary or chronic and mild or severe. Mild or moderate pain can be relieved with self-managed care and non-surgical treatment.

However, the dentist will resort to surgery when these conservative measures fail. Read on to understand the TMJ disorder, treatment, and healing.

Understanding TMJ Disorder

Your mouth opens and closes with help from joints that connect the jawbone to your skull. These two sliding hinges are located below each ear and are known as temporomandibular joints or TMJ.

They are surrounded by cartilage and small-shock absorbing disks. These facilitate smooth mouth movements.

The joints can become painful and do not function as required due to several factors. Some common causes of TMJ disorder are dental trauma, arthritis, or genetics.

For example, the disk may erode or become misaligned. In addition, the cartilage may be damaged by arthritis or the joint damaged by injury. Chronic bruxism and connective tissue disease also contribute.

The symptoms of the TMJ disorder include:

  • Headaches
  • Facial pain and swelling
  • Audible clicking, grating, or popping noises whenever you open or close the mouth
  • Lockjaw that makes it difficult to open or close the mouth
  • Limited range of jaw movement
  • Pain radiating through the neck and or shoulders
  • Earaches
  • Pain in and around the jaw joints

When Will My TMJ Get Better?

TMJ pain significantly affects your daily life. Unfortunately, there is no certain way of telling how long the disorder takes to heal.

The healing period varies from case to case, depending on the cause, severity, and treatment provided. TMJ flare-ups can last for hours or several days.

For instance, if you have mild TMJ pain, it can go away independently after a few hours. Home remedies and self-care can relieve mild or moderate TMJ pain.

On the other hand, severe pain may last for weeks and require the intervention of a dentist. Getting a proper diagnosis will determine the appropriate treatment and when your TMJ will get better.

The type of treatment recommended also determines when your symptoms will be alleviated. For example, if the dentist prescribes therapies and exercises, the joints may take weeks or months to heal.

Additionally, orthodontics, mouth splints, and mouth guards take months to experience full benefits. On the other hand, dental work such as extraction provides swift relief.

Tips for Temporary Relief of TMJ Discomfort

Fortunately, you can manage the flare-ups to reduce discomfort while waiting for the TMJ disorder treatment.

Methods to manage the symptoms include:

  1. Apply hot or cold compresses over the painful area for 15-20 minutes. Heat will increase blood flow and relax the jaw muscles. Alternatively, ice will reduce swelling and pain.
  2. Gently massage the jaw to promote muscle relaxation.
  3. Take over-the-counter medication for pain relief.
  4. Avoid crunchy, chewy, or hard foods because they increase the pain.
  5. Do jaw exercises that increase mobility in the TM joints. Your dentist will instruct you on appropriate jaw stretching, strengthening, and relaxation exercises.
  6. Rest the jaw by minimizing wide jaw movements, which aggravate the muscles. Therefore avoid yawning, yelling, and singing until the pain eases.
  7. Minimize stress and anxiety because they contribute to TMJ flare-ups.
  8. Correct your sleeping, sitting, and standing postures. Unideal positions can increase TMJ discomfort. Sit as upright as possible and take several breaks to correct your seated posture. Sleep on your back while supporting your neck with pillows.
  9. Avoid activities like clenching or grinding your teeth, biting your nails, or resting your jaw in your hands. They aggravate the issue and lead to frequent TMJ flare-ups.

A dentist near you can provide speedy TMJ recovery. They do this by diagnosing the main cause of the pain and providing the right treatment.

We can determine a suitable treatment and recovery timeline based on the results of your diagnosis.

Contact us at Toothopia Dental for advanced methods to relieve your TMJ pain.

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