young woman experiencing lockjaw, a dental emergencyHave you ever been unable to close or open your jaw? You may have felt like someone took a lock and key and put it on your jaw, not allowing you to open or close it. If you tried to open or close your jaw, it likely felt incredibly painful and unsuccessful. If TMJ is the cause, you need TMJ treatment to prevent this from occurring repeatedly throughout the rest of your life. At Kuhn Dental Associates, we know how stressful and painful lockjaw can be. If it ever happens to you, we want you to visit us for a dental emergency as soon as possible. From there, we can help you resolve your TMJ symptoms with a proper treatment plan.

What is Lockjaw?

Lockjaw is also known as trismus which is a disorder that affects the jaw muscles. It occurs when a spasm in the mastication muscles of the jaw occurs and then limits the ability to open or close the jaw. Lockjaw can make eating, talking, or maintaining oral hygiene incredibly difficult. For some, it’s a temporary problem and for others, it’s more permanent. If they occur temporarily, it usually more frequent. In severe cases, lockjaw can even cause changes to appearance. Over time, it can make swallowing difficult and oral examinations even more difficult. With that said, if you experience lockjaw, don’t wait to get a proper diagnosis and start a treatment plan.

What Causes Lockjaw?

There are a few different reasons why lockjaw might occur.

Tetanus – If you’re experiencing a serious bacterial infection it can affect the nervous system and muscles throughout the body, causing them to tighten and contract. Some examples of infections that can cause this are from burns, cuts, animal bites, insect bites, and even dental infections.

Inflammation – if the soft tissue surrounds the jaws is inflamed, it can also cause lockjaw. This is one of the more common causes of lockjaw and the one we can treat at our Aberdeen dental office. When the jaw is imbalanced or experiencing too much pressure, it can cause a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).

Other causes – Other reasons you might experience lockjaw include oral disease and illnesses that affect the mouth and fevers.

“If these simple remedies don’t help you open and close your jaw, it’s important to get a diagnosis of what’s going on.”

How to Treat Lock Jaw

One of the first steps you should take to relieve the pressure of your lockjaw is applying a warm compress to your jaw several times per day. You can switch off with a cold compress to help relieve pain. If these simple remedies don’t help you open and close your jaw, it’s important to get a diagnosis of what’s going on. At Kuhn Dental Associates, we are happy to help relieve your lockjaw symptoms so you can enjoy life pain-free again. If you’re unable to close or open your jaw, please contact us today for TMJ treatment. Give us a call at (910) 692-4450 today if you’re experiencing a dental emergency like lockjaw.