Managing Lock Jaw Before You See Your Orthodontist

dental check up

Dental check upDoes your jaw lock whenever you yawn? Do you also experience earaches with a dash of pain or pressure behind your eyes? If you are experiencing these symptoms, then maybe you’re suffering from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ).

What is TMJ?

TMJ is a condition wherein the hinge that connects your upper and lower jaw isn’t working properly. There are many reasons why your jaw joints are misaligned, but one way to fix it is to consult an orthodontist. In Australia, they could suggest dental fitouts to re-align your teeth,  or for serious TMJ, surgery could be the only option.

One particular cause of TMJ is when the hinge where the upper and lower jaw meet is displaced. This area has a sort of buffer to keep the bones from rubbing against each other, but sometimes misalignment could occur, and a person’s jaws could lock and cause TMJ.

Sometimes that ‘buffer’ gets worn down or displaced, resulting in the upper and lower jaw rubbing against each other, which can be painful. Also, when that happens, the jaw can lock. This often happens when a person yawns, which forces his mouth to open wide that will lead to the lower jaw misaligning with the upper jaw when it closes up again. Sometimes the effect is painful and feels uncomfortable.

Symptoms of TMJ

Other symptoms associated with TMJ include headaches; a popping sound when you open and close your mouth; jaw muscles that feel tender; painful sensation when yawning, chewing or simply opening one’s mouth; and a feeling that you have an overbite because the upper and lower jaw are misaligned.

Fortunately, if you consult your orthodontist, this special dentist can suggest a few remedies to ensure that you’ll never experience a locked jaw. If your situation isn’t serious, your dentist might recommend that you get fitted for a brace to align your teeth. But a severe misalignment could require that you undergo surgery.

TMJ Treatments, Without a Dentist?

mouth guard and case

But are there situations when you don’t need to see an orthodontist? There are other ways to remedy TMJ when you can’t see your orthodontist. First, you can take muscle-relaxants or aspirin to relieve the stress in your jaw muscles and let your jaws align together naturally.

Second, you could wear a splint or mouth guard to prevent you from grinding your teeth, which is also one of the causes of TMJ.
You can also use relaxation techniques to relieve the stress in your jaw muscles.

Experiencing a locked jaw can be harrowing for anyone as much as it can be painful, and even if you could do these treatments, it is best to go to an orthodontist.  If you can’t see your orthodontist yet, you can still wiggle your jaws a little bit so that your lower teeth rest behind your upper teeth instead of aligning when you close your mouth.

What you can do when your jaws lock after you open your mouth is to inch your lower jaw forward like you’re jutting it out. Then slowly and carefully try opening or closing your mouth. You’ll notice that it’s not as painful as before. Your lower jaw is now aligned, and doing this exercise brings it back forward a bit until it aligns perfectly with your upper jaw. Until you see an orthodontist, this is the basic exercise that you can do to lessen pain from TMJ.

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