woman holds jaw and grimaces in pain while sitting in bed

What Happens if TMJ Is Left Untreated?

TeamTMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder is one that goes untreated all too often - and for many different reasons. The pain comes and goes, making patients think that it isn’t so bad. It could be a minor inconvenience for a day or two before it goes away and you are back to normal. For some patients, it is the desire to not spend money on something that isn’t that bad yet. And for others, it is just about taking the time to get the treatment. Life is busy -- who has time for TMJ treatment, right? 

Well, truth be told, if you have TMJ disorder, you are not going to want to leave it untreated. And, here’s why. 

Chronic Pain

The minor intermittent jaw pain that comes and goes after a couple of days? That was your signal that something is wrong and you need to address it. If you didn't, eventually that is going to turn into chronic pain. And this can be incredibly disruptive to your daily life. 

Joint Damage

Your jaw joint is screaming for help when you feel that pain. It is inflamed and it requires attention. When you sprain your ankle or end up with tennis elbow, your doctor will give you a splint and tell you that you need to rest it. This rest is what helps it heal. 

Think of TMJ disorder in much the same way. This joint needs to heal and it can benefit from an oral splint. Without doing this, you will damage your joint -- and may even require more in-depth procedures, such as surgery, to address it. 


Whenever you have pain in the tooth or jaw or within the face, it is not uncommon for you to end up with a headache. Some even with migraines. For TMJ disorder these headaches are the result of this joint connecting the jaw to the skull. 

Your headaches will continue. And they will get worse. Rather than the occasional headache, you may find that you seem to constantly be dealing with headaches. Not to mention that their severity is likely to increase, too. 

Poor Quality Sleep

You know that good sleep is necessary for leading a healthy life. Sleep is when the body rejuvenates itself so in the new day you can feel refreshed, focused, and ready to go.  Unfortunately, with TMJ disorders, there is often an underlying misaligned bite that can lead to airway obstruction while you sleep. The result? You don’t get the oxygen you need to breathe while you are asleep! This is very dangerous. 

Poor Quality of Life

What happens when you have poor sleep mixed with headaches and chronic jaw pain? Life isn’t as vibrant as it once was. Many patients who have untreated TMJ disorder have admitted to missing a lot of work, becoming less social, and spending a lot of time tired in bed with bottles of over-the-counter pain medication in an attempt to feel better. 

Your quality of life begins to deteriorate when TMJ disorders are left untreated. Because it happens over time, you may not even put two-and-two together to realize that if you’d just address your TMJ, life could change dramatically.

Declining Oral Health

TMJ disorder commonly coincides with one’s bruxism. This means that someone with TMJ disorder often grinds and clenches the teeth and jaw, cause dental issues, such as weakened teeth, cracks, gum recession, and more. These are in addition to the TMJ disorder -- and are usually a direct result of it. Treating TMJ disorder can reduce the chance for future oral health concerns.

TMJ Treatment at Barkoff Dental 

If you suffer from TMJ disorder or you believe you may have it - don’t delay seeking treatment. As you can tell, things only get worse when TMJ disorder is left untreated. So, don’t risk chronic pain, impacts on your quality of life, or declining oral health. Instead, let Barkoff Dental help you heal your TMJ disorder. 

Call Barkoff Dental today at 516-921-1133. Or, request an appointment online.