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FAQ:  Lock Jaw (Trismus)


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  • My jaw locked from a tooth infection. I had the tooth pulled. When will my jaw unlock? ...Visitor from Broadway     (answer)

  • I have been experiencing lock jaw for a couple of months after eating chewy foods or even chips. My jaw starts clicking though I can open my mounth widely. I know that it is not in the proper position. I also sometimes feel pain in my head from the sinus around the circle of my right eye. Before, I thought it was a sinusitis but an ENT doctor said that it's because of my jaw. What do I do? ...Visitor from Balanga     (answer)

  • About 5 days ago I developed lock jaw. Not sure why or how. I woke up like this and it won't go away. The only thing I have had happen to my mouth recently happened the night before at about midnight. My wife and I were watching tv. I had a slight uncomfort in 1 of my teeth. I touched it and it broke out. The top, bottom and 3 sides all fell out. There is still 1 side there. I am having no pain at all with the tooth or the jaw. Just can't open my mouth. Could the tooth have something to do with it? What do I do to get my jaw to open? I'm tired of eating soup, please help. ...Visitor from OH     (answer)

  • My husband had an infected tooth and his jaw locked. He had 4 teeth pulled and was on antibiotics for 3 weeks. It has been over a month now and his jaw still won't open. He has tried heat, muscle relaxers and prying it with tongue depressers. Nothing is working!!! What can we do? ...Visitor from OH     (answer)

  • Crown - root canal - locked jaw: I went in for a crown and my tooth was cracked deep in 2 places so I had a root canal prior to the permanent crown being placed. 5 days after the root canal my jaw locked and now they want to treat me for TMJ. I can open my mouth only to put 1 finger in, what is going on? Is it infection? Or are the 2 things not related? ...Visitor from MI     (answer)

  • I have had a bad couple of weeks. I had a temporary crown put on. After the dental work I could not open my mouth very much. Then the tooth got infected and to make a long story short I ended up with a root canal. My question is why can I not open my mouth. The dentist who did the root canal numbed me really good in hopes to just get an x ray but still couldn't get my mouth open enough to get a picture. I don't have a lot of pain, I just can not open my mouth. What could be causing this? ...Lanie in NC     (answer)

  • I am only 14 years of age and I have a bad case of trismus, from what I can remember it was from one quick fight I had 2 years ago. My jaw hurts so much, how can I help myself make it better? ... Jodie in Gloucestershire, England     (answer)

  • I have developed lock jaw in the last week and I am getting really scared about it. I went on-line and found your website. Thank you so much for being there. I had severe pain in my teeth and ear and went to the dentist. He sent me to an endodontist. I needed two root canals. He did one immediately last Friday and I went back the following Monday morning for the second one. They could not do the second root canal because my jaws were locked in position (opening less than 1/2 of an inch). The swelling has been horrendous ever since. There is massive infection (which I think is probably causing the swelling) ... they changed me to a stronger antibiotic. It has only been a few days now when I started the new antibiotic. The only pain is the swelling. It literally looks like I have a small apple under my skin along the jaw and going down the neck. Have you ever heard of anything like this before? I called the doctor and their office is closed over the weekend. He said if the swelling isn't gone by Monday, they'll call in an oral surgeon to take care of things. I am really scared.     (answer)

  • My jaw locks occasionally, but it locks while it is opened, usually after I yawn really wide. I sometimes simply tug on my lower jaw outwards and presto it is fixed. However that was not the case this last time it happened. It was locked opened for a entire hour. I went in to the dentists office and he was placing his entire weight worth of pressure on my jaw in order to make it shift, but it would not budge. I was in pain and complaining so he numbed my whole mouth and then repeated the procedure. Why does the jaw lock open and what is the quickest way to fix it?     (answer)

  • My jaws started locking up 2 weeks ago. They would only stay that way for just a little while. Now for 2 days they are locked up. I can barely open my mouth. I can barely get a tooth brush in my mouth. I have wisdom teeth problems. They are parctially impacted. I know they need to come out. Here is my problem: I have medical & dental insurance but, I cannot afford to have something done right now. Is there something I can do at home to help me? Michelle in Oklahoma     (answer)

  • I recently underwent extraction of my third molars and developed an infection at the site of #17. After 1 week of Cleocin 300mg 4x day no improvement was seen and a large painful abscess had developed on the left side of my face down to midline of my chin. My oral surgeon drained the abscess (approx 30cc of pus) and my antibiotic has been changed to Zithromax. My overall health improved with the drainage and my significant pain was reduced with the abscess. Three days since the drainage I am still suffering from significant trismus that affects my ability to eat. I can open my jaws slowly over time but with pain involved. Will my trismus most likely clear up with the infection or do I have to practice opening my jaws to clear this up?     (answer)

  • I had my disc removed from my TMJoint about 7 months ago. Now my jaw locks closed a lot. I wake up in the morning with it locked and then it continues to lock throughout the day. I unlock it myself usually, even though it hurts. I was wondering if there is something I could do to prevent it from locking or to reduce the discomfort caused by unlocking it. ...Visitor from IL     (answer)

  • Daughters Locked Jaw: My 16 year old daughter's jaw has been locked for almost 2 weeks, she can open her mouth about 3cms, she has a constant ache and sharp pain when trying to stretch it too far. We have been to A and E, while x-rays suggest it is not displaced and sent us back to the GP who has perscribed paracetamol, ibuprofen and 10 days of Diazapan in the hopes it will relax the muscle enough to allow it to release. She is also putting heat on it and doing exercises suggested by a Physio friend. It has been 2 weeks since her jaw locked and there is still no change. What can we do to remedy this? ...Visitor from United Kingdom UK     (answer)

  • I am 24 years old. For the past four days my jaw is not working properly. I can't open it more than to get a few words out with out being in pain. I can keep this up for sometime, however I would like to know if it will cause permanent damage to my mouth?? I do not have health or dental insurance at this time and can't afford to go see someone about this problem. Basically I need to know just what it is I need to do to ease the pain some. Is there anything I can do?     (answer)

  • I was reading on your site because of the problem I was having opening my jaw. I am going to start the ice packs and hot packs right away. My concern it I am pregnant at the moment so I will not be able to take any muscle relaxers for about another six months or even just get a wisdom tooth removed. So my question is doing the ice packs and heat packs with the stretching will this help me to open my mouth more until I can get everything needed token care of. I think I am about to go nuts not being able to open my mouth! I can get it open enough to put part of my pointer finger in but I can't eat only soup and I can't fit even a children's tooth brush in my mouth. I think it's more frustrating than it is painful at the moment. Thank you for any help that you can give and thank you for your site!     (answer)

  • About two days ago, I suddenly noticed I could only open my mouth afew inches. This problem has made it difficult for me to eat any solids, such as small cubes of meat etc. As a result I've been forced to sip soup from a spoon (try saying that with your teeth out... ahem) although chewing doesn't seem to be a problem. Luckily, I can talk without too much trouble and I can smile as well, although opening my mouth a little wider to raise my voice does tend to hurt around the area which I presume to be the jaw joint(?) near my right ear. When the problem first became evident a couple of days ago, I must confess there was discomfort in that area. This left me unable to sleep. That nagging discomfort has since decreased. However, other problems haven't decreased. When I swallow, I feel a slight discomfort in my right tonsil area. I can also feel a bump on the inside (right side)of my mouth. The only way to describe this "bump" is by saying it feels like an inflamed gum. What is causing this? could it be my dental history, or lack of it? (I have only recently begun to visit the dentist following a ten year break, I'm now 32 yrs old. I was forced to visit him due to concerns about my dental health. Two teeth had fallen out in the space of two years. My dentist removed the parts of the falling teeth which were still rooted inside me. He also warned me at the time - alittle more than three months ago - that leaving them rooted in my gums would ultimatley cause jaw trouble. The side of the jaw which is troubling me now, is the side of the mouth where a tooth remnant still remains , in fact I have an appointment to have this removed next week, is this the problem? I also grind my teeth ALOT.. I understand this can cause trouble for the poor old jaw. This has left me baffled. ...Visitor from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, UK     (answer)

  • Hello. I'm 17 years old. My jaw started sticking after my braces were removed, but it usually frees up after a few hours. It also clicks when I open my mouth. Now it has been stuck for a bit over a week. I went to see my doctor and he made a mouthguard for me. But now my teeth hurt (like they did when I had my braces) and my jaw is still stuck. Do you recommend any kind of exercise to help relieve the problem? Do you think it will loosen up by itself after a while? ...Visitor from NJ     (answer)

  • I want to ask where do I get my lock jaw. I can't remember anything that I got - an accident or injury that can affect my jaw. It usually happens to me after going to sleep, as I wake up in the morning and my jaw locks. I can't open it as a regular opening! To get out of this lock, I open my mouth as big as I can then close it, make it a little bit faster until I feel ok! What is the best thing for me to do? How can I prevent this lock jaw? ...Visitor from Batangas, Phillipines     (answer)

  • My jaw has been locked for over 6 months. I have gone to the dentist and they refered me to oral surgery. I had an MRI done and they can't seem to find what the problem is. My jaw clicks when I open and close it. I can only open it about an inch. It does not hurt however, when I try and open it I get a sharp pain on the right side of my jaw and it spreads to my ear. I have tried everything. What is causing my jaw to be locked? ...Visitor from Travis Air Force Base     (answer)

  • What is the cause of trismus after a needle for a root canal(the dentist had to freeze a second time as I was not frozen after the first needle)? Jaw is still opened only about 1/2 inch. All the new dentist said was warm compresses and call me in 3 weeks. I am a little disappointed in that response. ...Visitor from Ontario Canada     (answer)

  • I have had Lock Jaw for about a year now. Almost every morning I wake up with it and it takes a few hours for it to fix itself. I notice that I have blinding headaches when this occurs.They seem to be brought on by stress. My question is: How do I get rid of this problem without surgery or expensive treatments? I am strapped for cash (which is causing my stress). Please help! ...Visitor from CA     (answer)

  • My daughter is thirteen years old and wears braces. She had them tightened about 2 days ago. She yawned and her jaw got stuck then it snapped back in a couple of seconds. This really scared her and she says it keeps snapping and its painful. Enough to make her cry. What can I do to help her? Is this a serious problem? What causes this? ....Visitor from CA     (answer)

  • My wife had a pterigoid abscess in pterigoid muscles about 2 months ago, probably related to a odontogenic abscess. She had bad times with this issue, but, after 10 days it has drained spontaneously and the pain has gone. However, the trismus continues, so she could not extract the bad tooth. Yesterday she started again with intense pain. What can we do in a case like that? We know, while the tooth is not out of her mouth, the problem can show up again, but how to extract that tooth in the presence of trismus? ....Visitor from São Paulo, Brazil     (answer)

  • Quick Fix for Lockjaw-like Pain? I have been having this problem with my jaw, and its driving me crazy. Sometimes I'll open my mouth and my jaw won't lock, but it will continue to hurt for a little while. When I try to open my mouth wide again, it won't open entirely. I'm in a lot of pain. Whats going on here? I can still talk and open my mouth and everything -- it just hurts really bad. Is there any way to quick fix this problem? ....Visitor from CA     (answer)

  • Trismus - Lock-jaw: Last week I had some dental work done on my teeth. 5 days later I could not open my mouth. My dentist sent me to a TMJ specialist, who diagnosed Trismus (lock-jaw). I am now doing physical physical therapy, but my jaw does not seem to be getting better. Normally how long does one need the physical therapy? What will happen if I give up physical therapy, as it does not seem to affect anything? ....Visitor from GA     (answer)

  • Waking Up with Lock Jaw: About a year ago, my jaw would lock in place when I'd wake up in the morning. It was very painful and took almost 10 minutes every morning to unhinge my jaw using a warm compress. I must also mention that three of my wisdom teeth came in earlier that year. I went my dentist and he said that my jaw is probably locking in place because I clench my teeth at night and proceed to do nothing else about it. It is almost a year later after that and now I'm having difficult chewing with the left side of my jaw because the teeth are not reaching each other. I don't know how I should fix this. ....Visitor from NY     (answer)

  • Jaw Locking: I am 16 years old and have had braces on for about nearly 2 years. I noticed my jaw was locked about nearly a year ago. I don't know what to do. I told my dentist about this who then refered me to a hospital who said that my jaw should heal it self and said nothing else. I don't know what to do my jaw has caused me to lose weight as well as I have difficulty eating. My dentist can not remove the braces either due to the jaw locking. ...Visitor from Middlesex UK     (answer)

  • Jaw Trauma and Lock Jaw: I got in a scuffle with a friend 5 or 6 years ago and took a blow to the left jaw. Ever since then, I have had difficulty opening my mouth straight open. I am able to get my mouth open all the way if I move my jaw to the right, but I can't open it straight, and certainly not to the left. I have no trouble closing it, but when I open, I feel a very pronounced pressure right where the jaw meets the skull. What could be wrong, and what can I do about it? If I can't do anything about it, who could? ...Visitor from GA     (answer)

  • Vibration Therapy for Trismus (lockjaw): You mention that massage is a good therapy to treat lockjaw / TMJ / trismus. I'm wondering if the use of vibration (vibrators) applied to the jaw wouldn't be a possible therapy for this condition. Do you have any comments on this subject? ...Visitor from NM     (answer)

  • Cannot open jaw 1-2 inches: I got 2 fillings on my lower back teeth. I was given anasthesia twice and several days later my I felt pain in that tooth, in my jaw and ear, and cannot open my mouth more than an 1-2 inches. I returned to the dentist twice since and he shaved down the filling more both times. He recommended ibuprofen and mentioned I must have aleady had problems but I never have until now. After viewing your site I am concerned I may have lockjaw but I don't know which factor was the cause or how to treat it. I see in some cases there may be permanent damage if untreated. It has been an entire month with very little change. Please tell me how to proceed. ...Visitor from DE     (answer)

  • Jaw Problems: I am 31 and my jaw has always popped when I chew. In the last year it has begun locking and is getting worse, even when I yawn. It will lock open / shut and it is painful to get open / closed. The right side pushes out by my ear with movement. What kind of doctor do I see for this? ...Visitor from CO     (answer)

  • Dental Treatment caused jaw to lock open: My dentist was doing a filling, I was was tense and nervous and when he asked me to bite, my jaw was stuck and I felt two big bones and I couldn't close my mouth. I was in a lot of pain. The dentist told me that it looks like my jaw has been misplaced and he tried to place it back and forth. My mouth would not close and I couldn't speak. After he asked me to sit back and relax, his fellow dentist suggested that I try to open my mouth even more and close and close it fast, which i did. My mouth went back to its place. Now I am fine however my smile slightly changed since then. Even my husband noticed. How do I fix this? ...Visitor from Toronto Ontario Canada     (answer)

  • Jaw Locking Up: I am 18 years old, have had my wisdom teeth removed about a year ago because I noticed my jaw was locking up then, but recently it has started happening again, particularly when I eat. Whenever I eat I can often feel my jaw cracking, and then sometimes it locks up and I can then barely open my mouth. Please help! What is likely to be causing this? Is there anything I can do from home? ...Visitor from PA     (answer)

  • Unlocking the Jaw: My daughter (26) had a procedure to unlock her jaw (it was locked for almost 2 weeks) and a splint was inserted to align the jaw. She is now experiencing severe pain when she removes the splint. She cannot open her mouth enough to get a toothbrush inserted. Is this normal after such a procedure? ...Visitor from TX     (answer)

  • Braces don't fix Lockjaw: I have been suffering from lockjaw for a while. It happens when I yawn. I have no overbite. It was surposed to be rectified when I had my brace but not long after it was removed it went back to the position it originally was. ...Visitor from United Kingdom UK    (answer)

  • Braces cause Lock Jaw? I am 15 years old and have been going to the orthadontist for quite some time now. I had my braces taken off about 2 1/2 months ago and about 2 weeks after started to get lock jaw. I wake up with it every morning and I got worried so I went to the orthodontist and he said it should go away, in time. Over the past few weeks it has gotten worse and today for the whole day I couldn't open my mouth fully because my jaw stops when I open to a certain point. I have been a bit stressed lately but I don't see why I should have lock jaw for this long. What should I do? ...Visitor from Australia    (answer)

  • Splint causes more problems: My daughter (26) had a procedure to unlock her jaw. It was locked for almost 2 weeks. A splint was inserted to align the jaw. She is now experiencing severe pain when she removes the splint. She cannot open her mouth enough to get a toothbrush inserted. Is this normal after such a procedure? ...Visitor from TX    (answer)

  • 16 days locked jaw: 2 weeks ago I joined a gym and started cycle (spin) classes. After the first session I noticed I couldn't open my mouth fully. This lasted for about 5 days and then when I woke one morning it was fine again. But, when I went to the gym again the same thing happened and it has been locked now for 16 days. What can I do or who can I see to fix this? About 2 years ago I was on a flight from Australia to USA and fell asleep for about 5 hours when I awoke it was locked and didn't get better for a week. I am quite concerned as I can't eat properly, can't have a good yawn and if I need to go to a dentist they won't be able to see or treat me well enough. ...Visitor from PA     (answer)

  • Home Treatment? My jaw has been locked for 1 week presently. I can barely open it an inch. This has happened before and it stays for 2-3 weeks, then just goes away. I have a wisdom tooth that is coming in (it is in already, just my impression is that it is moving down). I know I need to get it pulled, however, I have a dentist appointment next week and I need it to unlock before then. Am I correct that it is locking up because my wisdom tooth is moving down? What can I do at home to help unlock this jaw? ...Visitor from IL     (answer)

  • Last year I went to my dentist because I was having trouble with my jaw locking. He prescribed muscle relaxants (for about 3 days) and then when it finally was not locking, set me up with a mouth guard for night. I wore the mouth guard regularly for several months. I slept better with it - but my major complaint was that in the morning when I took it out. I couldn't close my mouth all the way, unless I pushed in on both sides of my jaw. It took about an hour for my mouth to eventually close. This drove me crazy so I stopped wearing the guard. I got in trouble with my the hygenist for not wearing it. But when I do this happens again where I can't close my mouth. What is up? ...Visitor from AK     (answer)


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