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Jaw Pain - Trismus Disorders

About two days ago, I suddenly noticed I could only open my mouth a few 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 - a little 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

You have way too many things going on that need examination, x-rays, etc.. Start with your dentist, follow up with an oral surgeon and an ENT specialist. If nothing serious is found, visit the AACFP.org website for a referral to a pain specialist who can help you with the myriad of problems that you are describing.

There is simply no easy answer for all of the things you are describing. You need multiple doctors evaluating your conditions.

John Halmaghi, DDS, FAGD

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