If your jaw channels its inner locksmith more often, you can hear popping and clicking sounds upon movement. It can be a Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder. This is a fancy way of saying that the joint connecting your jaw to your skull is throwing a tantrum.
Causes Behind a Locked Jaw
Jaw locking has numerous causes. You have to know them all to rule out the right one. Following are some general reasons:
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
TMJ is a well-known cause of triggering pain in the jaw and neighboring muscles. The hinge joints between your temporal bone and lower jaw can become inflamed and tight. It can stimulate sensations like throbbing pain and tenderness around the jaw, face, or neck. You can feel your jaw clicking while you eat.
You can unknowingly clench your jaw in your sleep when you are under stress. You can wake up with your jaw still clenched unconsciously. As a result, you can feel tightness in your jaw muscles the following day. The pain can gradually increase when you talk or eat.
Anxiety and stress are usually the reasons behind Bruxism. You can grind your teeth even while awake due to dental issues and misalignment. Teeth grinding can also cause tenderness and soreness in your jaw and facial muscles. This can make you vulnerable to head and earaches.
It is a deadly bacterial infection. The signs of tetanus involve tightness in the abdomen, difficulty in swallowing food, and pain during muscle contractions. You require a vaccine called Tdap to prevent this infection.
- Facial Injuries or Trauma
Incidents like a sudden blow to the face or a fall can injure the functional portion of the jaw. This can cause pain or stiffness. Sometimes, cancer treatment procedures like chemo or surgery can cause a locked jaw.
How to Unlock a Locked Jaw?
A locked jaw Can be fixed via exercise, surgeries, massages, and mouthguards. Sometimes, you can require a combination of them to treat your jaw. Following is a short rundown:
The following exercises can relieve the tightness in your jaw. They also strengthen your jaw muscles so they do not lock easily.
- Manual Jaw-Opening Exercise
- Jaw Joint Stretch
- Smile Stretch
If a locked jaw happens due to Bruxism, your healthcare provider can suggest wearing a mouthguard at night. They reduce the chances of your upper and lower teeth clashing against each other, as this clash results in tightened jaw muscles.
Your dentist can also use customized mouthguards called splints to tackle your TMJ disorder. They softly keep your mandible in the front direction of your mouth. This lowers the strain on your neighboring muscles and jawbone.
Not all jaw disorders can be cured with exercises and devices like mouthguards. Some of them can require extensive medical treatments, such as:
- Shortwave diathermy laser treatment
If your jaw produces clicking and popping sounds while chewing. You might be the right candidate for TMJ disorder. Delaying the treatment will only cause more trouble. Jaw pain and stiffness can meddle with your routine.
Contact our TMJ specialist, Dr. Ahmad Millwala, at Vintage Oral Surgery. Our doctor is loaded with tried and tested solutions to treat your TMJ disorder. Call us at (281) 800-8852 to book an appointment.