TMJD and Trismus

by melanie
(dallas, tx)

In January of this year, i had all 4 of my wisdom teeth removed. i was told at the one week follow up appointment to go home and yawn widely to loosen my facial muscles. when i did that, i felt a ripping/pulling sensation around my right jaw joint. my bite became slightly off, and i began hearing clicking in my right ear when i ate.

a TMJD doctor told me I had strained muscles and to take it easy, that it would all resolve itself. shortly after that, trismus set in, and a second specialist told me to go home and begin stretching my mouth or the trismus would become permanent. that basically terrified me. i was given tongue depressors for the stretching, but shortly after i began the exercises, the muscles in my mouth went haywire. my bite began shifting nearly constant, my entire face began to hurt, and swallowing became difficult.

i still have all of the same problems, but i'm trying to figure out how to proceed. it seems as though there are two schools of thought here.

A) to relax the muscles which will correct my bite and ultimately cure my trismus, which so far, doctors think is muscle related.

then, there's B) that only by stretching my muscles and curing my trismus, will my muscle function resolve itself and my bite return to normal.

i dont know which school of though to follow. All i know is, when i stretch, my bite and muscles go haywire, even when i stretch passively, but when i don't stretch, my opening becomes severely restricted and my joints become very stiff.

help!! what's the correct course of action to take. stretch or don't stretch? now, my physical therapist is recommending a therabite type product which i would gladly use if that is the correct why to go. i'm just very confused.


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Wisdom teeth Lock jaw
by: Dr. Spainhower

Hello Melanie,

It is somewhat common to have the symptoms you are having after having wisdom teeth removed. So, let me try to help.

You mentioned two different approaches to treating your trismus. They both can work.

The first thing you need is a night time night guard. Order a SmartGuard Original and wear that at night. This is really is pretty much mandatory.

See, if you perform stretches during the day, then at night time you clench and reverse the stretches or treatment that you've done during the day. So, wear a good night guard that relaxes your jaw muscles at night.

Then during the day, yes, you can do the stretches. Maybe 3 times per day. Try to keep your tongue between your teeth throughout the day. You do Not want your back teeth to touch at all during the day. Any time your back teeth touch when you are having problems like this, bad things happen.

Let me know if you have any other questions. Email me if you'd like at dr Spainhower at SmartGuard dot info, and I'll try to help you through the process.

Dr. Spainhower

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