All There Is to Know About Jaw Dislocation
In essence, jaw dislocation is a condition where the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that connects the jawbone to the skull gets displaced. This can lead to severe pain, difficulty in opening and closing the mouth, and other complications.
Due to its seriousness, the condition requires immediate medical attention to prevent further damage to the joint and surrounding structures. In this text, we’ll discuss all there is to know about it, from causes and symptoms to treatment and prevention.
How Does Jaw Dislocation Occur?
Like with most other conditions, jaw dislocation can happen due to a variety of reasons. Here are the most common ones:
- Trauma: An injury to the head can cause the jaw to dislocate. That can happen during sports activities (especially those with player contact), accidents, or physical altercations between people.
- Dental procedures: Certain dental procedures, such as wisdom teeth extraction, can put stress on the jaw and cause dislocation. Luckily, this isn’t that common, so there’s no need to worry about visiting your dentist.
- Yawning: Although it might seem weird, excessive yawning can cause the jaw to dislocate. That is especially the case if it is already weakened due to a previous injury or some other factors.
- Arthritis: Arthritis can also cause the temporomandibular joint to become inflamed and weak, making it more prone to dislocation.
What Are the Symptoms of Jaw Dislocation?
Although most symptoms of a dislocated jaw are rather obvious, some might surprise an average person. Let’s check them out, shall we?
- Severe pain: The dislocated jaw may cause severe pain in the jaw, face, and neck. As such, it’s rather obvious, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
- Difficulty opening and closing the mouth: The jaw that is dislocated can become locked in an open or closed position, making it difficult to move. That means it will affect speech, eating, and drinking.
- Clicking or popping sound: The dislocated jaw may make clicking or popping sounds when moved. If it’s accompanied by sharp pain, the chances are that it’s dislocated, and you shouldn’t wait long before seeking professional help.
- Swelling: The area around the dislocated jaw will usually become swollen and tender, preventing you from using your mouth as normal.
- Changes in bite: The dislocated jaw may cause changes in the way the teeth come together, making it difficult to eat or speak.
Ways to Treat Jaw Dislocation
The treatment of jaw dislocation depends on the severity of the condition. In most cases, medical professionals can reset the jaw back into place. Nevertheless, here are some of the most common treatment options for jaw dislocation:
- Manual reduction: Manual reduction is all about using gentle pressure to move the jawbone back into its original position. To lessen the pain, this operation is often done with local anesthesia.
- Muscle relaxants: These may be prescribed by registered medical professionals to help relax the muscles around the jaw and lower pain.
- Pain medication: Over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen, may be recommended to help manage pain and swelling.
- Tender meals: For the jaw to heal, it’s necessary to consume soft foods. These can include meals like mashed potatoes, soups, and oatmeal.
- Ice: Just like with other physical injuries that create swelling, applying ice packs to the affected area can help reduce pain.
- Physical therapy: In severe cases, physical therapy may be recommended to help restore normal jaw function.
Preventing Jaw Dislocation
While jaw dislocation may be caused by accidents or trauma that are out of our control, there are some steps we can take to prevent the condition from occurring. These include:
- Mouth guards: If you participate in contact sports (e.g., football or hockey), the chances are that you might injure your jaw at some point. That is why it’s key to use protective gear, such as a mouth guard, that will protect you from dental injuries.
- A quality diet: As always, a proper diet that is high in calcium and vitamin D can help keep bones, including the jawbone, strong and healthy.
- Avoiding excessive yawning: If you tend to yawn excessively, try to control it by breathing through your nose or taking a short break to stretch.
- Regular dental checkups: If you have a previous history of temporomandibular joint disorders, it’s important to visit your dental professional on a regular basis for checkups, to prevent any incoming damage to the jaw.
Is It Possible to Live With a Dislocated Jaw?
Living with a dislocated jaw can be quite uncomfortable and may cause a range of problems in all areas of life. The following are some risks associated with living with a dislocated jaw:
- Chronic pain: Dislocated jaws can cause chronic pain, especially if the jawbone is pressing against nerves or other structures.
- Difficulty eating and speaking: A dislocated jaw can make it difficult to eat, speak, and perform other activities that involve the use of the mouth.
- Malocclusion: A dislocated jaw can cause the teeth to shift out of their normal position, leading to malocclusion or misalignment of the teeth. That can cause issues with biting and chewing, as well as cosmetic issues.
- TMJ disorders: Dislocated jaws can lead to temporomandibular joint disorders, which can cause pain, stiffness, and dysfunction of the jaw joint.
- Infection: If the dislocated jaw is left untreated, it may become infected, leading to swelling, pain, and other complications.
- Secondary injuries: A dislocated jaw can cause secondary injuries, such as bruises or cuts to the face, neck, and head, especially if it was caused by trauma.
- Psychological effects: Chronic pain and difficulty with everyday activities can lead to psychological distress, such as anxiety, depression, and even social isolation.
Knowing this, it’s essential to seek prompt medical attention if you suspect that you have a dislocated jaw to prevent further complications and promote healing.
East Erie Dental
In case you require a dental emergency in Streeterville, Chicago, you can contact East Erie Dental—SE Chicago Dentistry for immediate care and same-day appointments. From toothaches to trauma, the professional team at East Erie Dental will provide you with plans to keep your smile picture-perfect and your mouth healthy.
You can call East Erie Dental for any dental issue out there — toothaches, chipped and broken teeth, lost filling, crowns, or even a dislocated jaw. If you put your trust in this experienced team of dentists and technicians, you’re guaranteed to keep your oral hygiene high and optimize your smile for the best possible look.