by rayn e
(san antonio)

So I have been having headaches/migraines since I can remember. When I was about 12 I had some teeth removed. When the doctor was removing them he had to break my jaw to get to the back.

From what I remember my mom said I was supposed to go back for a mouthbrace or something. Between custody battles it never happened. The left side of my jaw has been popping for about 4 years and now for the last 2 months.

I can't open it more than two fingers sometimes just one. And it hurts. Do you think this could be TMJ ?

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Painful and Can't Open
by: Anonymous

Hello Rayn E,

The inability to open your mouth can be caused by several reasons. It could be directly related to the popping jaw, or not. If you truly have an off bite due to an earlier broken jaw, that certainly could contribute to a closed jaw.

The closed jaw could be a true Lock jaw where the TMJ disc is dislocated and blocking the jaw's ability to open. Or, it could be just tight muscles that are not allowing your jaw to open. That is called Trismus.

In either case, an MRI could verify if it is trismus or a true locked jaw.

The treatment for trismus can include an occlusal TMJ splint, either wearing it 24 hours per day or just at night. One approach is to try and wear a splint only at night to see if you can relax the muscles enough to loosen the muscles.

Doing TMJ exercises is definately recommended if it is Trismus as well. So, wear an appropriate night guard and do the TMj exercises.

If it is a true locked jaw where the disc is dislocated, a good treatment is to wear a TMJ splint 24 hours. An experienced TMJ dentist is best to seek help for that.

If you have any other questions or clarifications, you can reply again.

Good luck,


Dr. Spainhower

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