TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder can be a painful condition that interferes with your daily activities such as eating or opening and closing your mouth to speak.
Because of the discomfort involved, patients want to know how long the symptoms will last and how long it may be until they experience relief.
Below, we’ll go over the symptoms of TMJ and describe how long they usually take to resolve.
Mild TMJ Symptoms
The onset of TMJ symptoms can at first be rather mild. These include mild discomfort around the jaw and face, clicking or popping when the jaw is moved, and pain when chewing or speaking.
However, sometimes more general discomfort such as headaches or a feeling of fullness in the ears can be a sign of TMJ.
For mild symptoms that have no underlying structural or medical issues present, they can sometimes resolve on their own in days or a few weeks. Patients will generally want to avoid any activities that may have brought on the symptoms, such as chewing hard foods or excessive tension in the jaw.
However, it’s important to note that even with mild symptoms, it’s wise to seek a professional with experience in TMJ treatments. TMJ can become a chronic condition if left untreated or unmanaged. So even mild symptoms should be taken seriously.
More Severe TMJ Symptoms
Severe cases of TMJ may take longer to resolve and could take several weeks to months. For these cases, a medical professional will generally prescribe a plan involving lifestyle or behavioral changes, physical therapy to be done at home or under the supervision of a therapist, and possibly medication to deal with pain and inflammation.
Certain misalignment issues with the teeth can also contribute to TMJ symptoms, so a dental professional may need to address these issues as well before the condition can be completely resolved.
Surgical Options For TMJ And Recovery Times
If more conservative treatments have not provided adequate relief, then surgical options may be necessary. These can include arthroscopic surgery to repair or replace the joint. Surgery is generally reserved for the most chronic cases of TMJ and after most other treatments have not shown satisfactory results.
Recovery from most common TMJ surgeries takes about 6 to 8 weeks before the patient can return to most normal activities. A total of 12 weeks is generally needed for complete recovery and for the surgical site to be fully healed.
Most professionals will want to avoid surgery as an option if possible, but that can also depend on the patient being proactive. This is why it’s critical for those experiencing TMJ symptoms to seek out a dental professional as soon as possible. Early intervention and treatment can eliminate the progression of TMJ and eliminate the need for surgery.
More Information On TMJ Treatment Options
If you’re experiencing mild to moderate TMJ symptoms, contact our experts at San Francisco Dental Wellness. As the clinical director at the San Francisco VA medical center, Dr. Chui provides effective treatment to veterans suffering from complex TMJ disorders.
We’re dedicated to helping our patients explore all their options for TMJ treatments and finding the best way to reduce symptoms and avoid the need for more invasive solutions if possible.
Contact San Francisco Dental Wellness today to learn how we can treat your TMJ so you can enjoy a pain-free lifestyle.