How Long Do TMJ Flare Ups Last?

Have you been diagnosed with TMJ disorder? If you are living through a flare-up, there is no way to tell exactly how long your symptoms will last because each person's experience varies slightly. However, let’s review a list of guidelines that can help you determine when the pain should end and how to manage it.


What is TMJ?

Before examining how long a flare ups lasts, it's important to understand what exactly TMJ is. TMJ is an acronym for the temporomandibular joint which connects your lower jaw to your skull.For various reasons, this joint can become inflamed and cause painful symptoms such as:

  • Pain when opening or closing your mouth
  • A popping feeling when eating, yawning, speaking or chewing
  • Limited ability to move your jaw
  • Pain in the jaw joint itself
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tooth aches
  • Headaches
  • Ear Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • and more

What is a TMJ Flare Up?

A TMJ flare up occurs when the temporomandibular joint becomes inflamed and causes symptoms such as those listed above. If you suffer from TMJ, your jaw will make popping sounds many times throughout the day as it glides in and out of its usual range of motion .This happens because the muscles and ligaments surrounding this area tighten and become inflamed during a flare up. When these joints are damaged or injured, they can cause other parts of the body to malfunction. You may notice that other parts of your body also swell or ache at this time due to over-stretched nerves emanating from the jaw joint.

How Long Do TMJ Flare Ups Last?

Depending on the person, TMJ flare ups last anywhere from a few hours to several days. However, each person is different and may experience different symptoms.During a flare up, the jaw joint becomes stiff and difficult to move. This stiffness causes pain and limits your ability to eat normally. It also causes restricted jaw movement which can make talking or moving your mouth in other ways such as chewing gum or smoking uncomfortable or even painful. The intensity of these flares varies from person to person but it is possible for an individual's flare ups to become more severe over time if their condition remains untreated.

What Causes a TMJ Flare Up?

There are a variety of factors that contribute to the likelihood of a flare up. This means that some people are more likely to experience these symptoms than others who have TMJ. Some of the factors associated with flares are things like:

  • Stress - Stress has been linked to an increase in symptoms of TMJ disorders. Therefore, its important to maintain a stress-free lifestyle in order to avoid a flare up
  • Posture- The way you sit or stand has a big impact on how your body balances itself. If you stand or sit with improper posture, it can throw off this balance and increase the likelihood of a flare up occurring.
  • Injury or trauma- Injury or trauma can cause an acute flare up so make sure to take safety precautions when partaking in activities
  • Chewing on hard foods- hard foods such as candy or nuts can cause enough of a disturbance to trigger a flare up.

Let Us Help You

Dr. Firouzi at the Center for Exceptional Dentistry specializes in TMJ, making his office an excellent resource for those in need of help. Visit our contact page here or call (412) 274-1126 today for more information.