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Gilberto Tostado E, DDS, MS, FICD, FPFA

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Can a Long Dental Appointment Give You TMJ Disorder?

Posted by writeradmin

I had a rather long dental appointment. Four of my upper teeth were prepared for dental crowns and the rest were prepared for porcelain veneers. I’ve got my temporaries now. While I like the way they look, my jaw really hurts. The appointment was three days ago and I’m still needing to take pain relievers twice a day. My dentist is on vacation. I don’t know if I should just wait this out or if this is a sign that I’ve developed TMJ Disorder and need to find a dentist who is available. Any advice?


Dear Molly,

Woman grabbing her jaw in pain


TMJ Disorder can be aggravated by a long dental procedure, but won’t develop because of one unless there was some trauma to your jaw. You did not mention anything unusual about the appointment. Four crowns along with porcelain veneer prep is a lot of work to have done at once. I’m not surprised that your jaw is hurting.

My suggestion is for you to take the following steps, some of which you are already doing.

  • Continue taking your anti-inflammatories.
  • Throughout your day, take notice as to whether or not you are clenching your jaw. Most people do not notice when they are doing it and clenching will not only prolong but even increase your jaw pain.
  • A cold compress will help reduce swelling, if there is any; a warm compress will relax strained muscles and increase blood flow. You can switch between them as needed.

If, after a week, you are still struggling that would be the time to call your dentist to determine if further evaluation is necessary. In all likelihood, you’ll feel better in a day or two. It’s never fun to hurt so I understand the desire for it to just go away.

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