TMJ pain for 13 months after dental work

TMJ pain for 13 months after dental work is most uncommon but it happens, more usually after a general anaesthetic.

I had TMJ treatment in the 1980s for 3 years caused by grinding my teeth during sleep and a misaligned bite. I wore a bite plate. Once that was resolved I never had another occurence of TMJ until now.

I am currently receiving physical therapy for TMJ induced by my dentist. I received 3 injections into my jaw to numb my lower left teeth for dental work. Yes, I am difficult to get numb and this has happened in the past. Usually the discomfort is resolved in just a few days. These 3 injections into my jaw resulted in not being able to open my mouth wide enough for a straw, fork or spoon. This injury occurred on 12/2/15, and now it is almost 13 months later.

There has been substantial improvement with heat, treatment, muscle relaxants, and time. I plateaued and sought advice, and that is when the PT was recommended by the dentist.

How common does this dental injury (injections) occur resulting in TMJ? Can I expect this to fully resolve with treatment? Does this now weaken the joint placing it at risk for re-injury?

Hello Bonnie,
I doubt the injections caused your problems; it was the dentist mining in a difficult area that required you to open you more than your TMJs enjoyed.
And because you were under the effect of the locals you were unaware of the over-stretching of the TMJs.
As an aside, very often a couple of minutes of pain from the dentist drilling is a lot less traumatic from the after effects of the injections. Talk to your dentist about it next time.
I'm not sure what the treatment from your physical therapist is, but our rule in the chiropractic clinic is that if an acute condition is not 50% better after three weeks of care, it's time to think of getting a second opinion.

Your history sounds particularly nasty so perhaps three weeks is optimistic but you've waited an awful long time to write this letter. It's time to start hunting for someone new who is experienced in treating TMJ syndrome.

Have you seen our TMJ exercises page?


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