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Jaw Pain - Trismus Disorders

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?

Tough question, but you should be able to put it back in place. Putting it back is actually the opposite of what you think...you have to push down on the back teeth of the lower jaw...do not try to push on the front teeth to get it to close - you will cause damage doing so. It's a down and back movement of the lower jaw, by putting a push on the back lower teeth.

If this doesn't work you may have to grasp the mandible between thumb and forefinger bilaterally, and push down, then forward and then backward. Numbing it seems extreme, but I don't know your situation clinically. As a last resort, you can put a small tubular object (like the handle of a screwdriver, as an example) between you back teeth, bilaterally, and bite together while trying to push the lower jaw backwards.

The most probable reason for your subluxation is that you have opened your mouth wider than God meant you to. You may also have a torn TMJ disk which is not guiding your jaw properly. You need TMJ x-rays and possibly an MRI to determine what is happening. If you have headaches you need to take the problem seriously because the headaches will only get worse. Let me know what happens.

John Halmaghi, DDS, FAGD

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