In your lifetime, chances are you have heard a horror story about someone who knows someone that had lockjaw. Without knowing what this really is, it can sound absolutely terrifying. Picturing yourself unable to open your mouth and communicate what is wrong does not sound like anyone’s wish, and for good reason your Tampa dentist will inform you that it is a condition that prevents you from opening your mouth fully and can cause pain and distress to those experiencing this.
Overview of Lockjaw
It is important to note that lockjaw is not a life threatening or overtly dangerous disorder. You can work with your Tampa dentist to talk about your risk of having lockjaw if you are concerned you may experience this disorder down the road. While the disorder itself is not dangerous, the underlying causes that may be prevent your mouth from functioning properly can be. One major cause of this problem is the infection tetanus; lockjaw appears as a symptom of tetanus once the infection has seriously progressed, and this is not very common anymore with today’s medicine. More often than not, those who experience lockjaw have related disorders of the mouth such as TMJ or temporary swelling in the jaw. For patients with TMJ, your Tampa dentist will likely recommend exercises to keep your jaw functioning and healthy, thus helping prevent lockjaw from occurring.
If you already have lockjaw, you are going to need to know how to treat it. You will first need to visit your dentist to make sure there are no serious causes for the disorder that need to be treated first. If no serious causes are determined, try a warm compress on your cheeks and jaw to help relax your muscles and allow your mouth to open.
Lockjaw can be scary if you are familiar with it or its causes. Work with your dentist if you have concerns about your jaw or have previously experience lockjaw. At North Pointe Dental, our staff is here to help you prevent this disorder and keep your mouth looking it’s best.