Possible future lock jaw

by Jennifer Nickel
(Columbia, MD)

About a year ago my jaw locked, I dont know if it was 'true' lockjaw or not. I was not able to open my jaw more then one finger tip width for about a month, it took two months before I could eat solid food. This was the begining of my TMJ pain. I am curious to know if this is likely to happen again?

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Future Lock Jaw
by: Dr. Spainhower

Hello Jennifer,

The easy answer to your question is "yes". You will always be susceptible to haveing lockjaw again.

Now, if it is a true lock, then you most likely have an off bite.

If you have an off bite, then you could already have a dislocating disc. It's possible that you have a slipping/dislocating disc and you do not realize it.

Or, if you have a slight off bite (like the majority of people), then high amounts of stress most likely caused your jaw to lock. High amounts of environmental stresses can cause you to have Trismus OR a True lock with the disc dislocated.

If your Locked jaw gradually opened up over a 2 or 3 month period, then you probably had Trismus. This is when the muscles of mastication have been overstressed by either physical trauma or other stresses.

Hopefully it is Trismus, because the treatment or cure is easier than the True lock.

So...what is the CAUSE? Stress is the answer most of the time.

BUT, if you correct any "off bite", then it would take more or higher levels of stress to cause the jaw to lock again.

If you lock up again, you might want to see your local TMJ Dentist.

If the jaw comes unlocked in any moment of the day, then it is a true lock. If it goes away over time (2-3 months), then it is usually Trismus.

Good luck!

Dr. Spainhower

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