A TMJ disorder is not life-threatening, but without the proper treatment, it can negatively affect your life and cause other disorders over time. Patients with untreated TMJ may experience debilitating neck or jaw pain, depression, sleep disturbances, malnutrition or even resulting to eating disorders as a result of their pain. A person may have one or more of these conditions at the same time. The concern with chronic TMJ dislocation is that eventually the tendons, muscles, cartilage and the AE become damaged, leading to arthritis (fibromyalgia, a painful condition that affects muscles and other soft tissues throughout the body), nerve damage and possibly, permanent dislocation. TMJ can lead to serious jaw problems such as a locked jaw. The jaw may become permanently stuck open, requiring a trip to the hospital. The breakdown of the cartilage in the jaw can also result in the dislocation of the jaw.