TMJ Dentistry |5 min read

How Long Do TMJ Flare-Ups Last?

If you or a loved one have experienced TMJ pain and discomfort, you may be wondering how long these flare-ups last.

In this blog, we’ll help you understand what TMJ disorder is, along with causes and symptoms, so you can recognize the condition and seek the best treatment options.

But first, let’s go over the basics.

What are TMJ disorders?

TMJ is the temporomandibular joint, located in the jaw. Due to a variety of reasons, this joint can become inflamed and cause discomfort and pain, called TMJ disorder.

If you think about how often we use this joint daily, it’s no surprise that so many problems can occur.

So much of what we do depends on our jaw, and when discomfort and pain set in, it’s hard to function normally.

Female dental patient at Orinda, CA dentist with text over image, "Understand Your TMJ Flare-Ups"

What are TMJ flare-ups?

TMJ flare-ups are new symptoms of your TMJ disorder or existing symptoms that get worse.

They can affect your quality of life, with symptoms occurring on and off.

Symptoms include:

  • Jaw pain and discomfort
  • Clicking and locking of the jaw
  • Warmth and swelling of the face
  • Difficulty opening mouth or chewing
  • Decreased jaw mobility
  • Muscle spasms
  • Toothaches
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Ear pain

But it doesn’t end there. Beyond the pain, TMJ disorder affects daily activities such as speaking, eating, yawning, and sleeping.

How long do TMJ flare-ups last?

TMJ flare-ups can last from a couple of hours to several days. Untreated cases of TMJ disorder can become chronic and debilitating.

The length of time that TMJ flare-ups last depends on the person.

Each case is different and is determined by the underlying cause and if any treatment is being utilized.

With proper diagnosis and treatment, a person can minimize the duration and intensity of their TMJ flare-ups.

What causes TMJ flare-ups?

TMJ flare-ups can be caused by a variety of factors. The biggest factors for serious cases include:

  • Injury or trauma
  • Erosion in the jaw disc or joint
  • Deterioration from arthritis

Some smaller factors that can contribute to TMJ flare-ups include:

  • Stress
  • Posture
  • Dehydration
  • Hormone levels
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Chewing of hard food

Unfortunately, even a small flare-up can affect the way you function!

What are some ways to relieve TMJ pain?

If you have a TMJ flare-up, you can do the following to find relief from your pain and discomfort:

  • Apply heat or ice to the affected area
  • Maintain a soft food diet, and avoid hard or chewy foods
  • Take over-the-counter pain relief options
  • Try relaxing techniques that will also help relax your facial muscles
  • Gently massage your jaw to increase blood flow and promote healing

You deserve to get rapid relief from unbearable jaw pain, and the above may help. But these suggestions are only temporary fixes. An experienced TMJ dentist, like Dr. Jess Santucci, can help control your TMJ symptoms and prevent them from getting worse.

Man suffering TMJ flare-up, with text over image, "your headaches or neck pain could be caused by TMJ disorder"

How are TMJ disorders diagnosed?

Using the latest technology and his expert knowledge, Dr. Santucci can adequately diagnose and treat TMJ disorders.

The result? Pain relief at last!

As you can imagine, the jaw is a very complex part of the body, and it’s constantly in use. It’s understandable that jaw problems can easily occur.

The good news is, Dr. Santucci has a thorough understanding of neuromuscular dentistry, which specializes in the alignment of the jaw.

This area of dentistry focuses on the link between the mouth’s functionality and the body as a whole, including muscles and the nervous system.

Schedule a consultation to discuss your TMJ symptoms.

How are TMJ disorders treated?

There are 2 phases for treating TMJ problems.

Phase 1: Orthotic Treatment

During the first phase of treatment, a TMJ appliance such as a mouthguard can be worn to align the jaw into its correct position. Once symptoms subside, you can choose to continue doing the orthotic treatment, or you can move on to the next phase.

Phase 2: Neuromuscular Orthodontics

During the second phase of treatment, the goal is to keep the jaw aligned on its own. After careful examination of the jaw’s bones and muscle, Dr. Santucci will create a custom mouth rehabilitation plan using multiple restorative and cosmetic services.

How can TMJ flare-ups be controlled?

According to Verywell Health… This text opens a new tab to the Verywell Health website…, by identifying and addressing the cause of your TMJ disorder, you can shorten the time of your flare-up.

The best way to permanently keep TMJ flare-ups under control is to speak with your dentist in Orinda, CA and get the right treatment plan.

Control your TMJ flare-ups with Dr. Santucci in Orinda, CA

Dr. Santucci is an expert in TMJ dentistry.

We understand the pain and discomfort from TMJ flare-ups, and by diagnosing the cause of your TMJ disorder, we can create a successful treatment plan.

Beyond just treating the symptoms, Dr. Santucci will find and treat the cause so that TMJ flare-ups can become a problem of the past!

Don’t ignore your jaw pain. Visit Jess Santucci DDS  in Orinda, serving surrounding communities of Lafayette, Moraga, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, East Bay, San Francisco, and the SF Bay area.

Don’t let your TMJ disorder control your life!

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