TMJ is one of the more common problems that can lead to jaw stiffness or locked jaw. People who have TMJ suffer from problems with their jaw joints, which might result from excessive teeth grinding or gum chewing. Sometimes tooth misalignment can also lead to TMJ. The continual strain on the jaw joint may make it hard for a person to open and close her mouth at times, which is common with jaw stiffness. Ankylosis of TMJ or temporomandibular ankylosis varies depending on what caused the TMJ, and in most cases TMJ symptoms can be alleviated or eliminated so that problems with a stiff jaw or tender jaw are minimal or nonexistent.
Causes of Stiff Jaw
Some of the common causes of TMJ or jaw stiffness are TMJ disorder, infections, jaw trauma, infection of the mandible bone, congenital, tetanus, periodontal disease and an impacted wisdom tooth.
Locked Jaw Symptoms
- Jaw pain and Swelling
- Facial pain
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Pain while chewing
- Dental pain
- Facial swelling
- Gum and lymph gland swelling
- Sounds like clicking or popping while opening and closing the mouth
- Radiating pain the jaw region which leads to ear pain
- Restricted jaw movements
A person who has a stiff jaw or one who has tender under jaw should see his doctor or dentist depending on what he suspects is the cause of the stiffness. The treatment for stiff jaw will depend on the underlying cause that is responsible for this symptom. If the pain is due to wisdom teeth infection, then it is best to visit a dentist, so that he may prescribe some antibiotics to make the swelling recede. After that, you will most probably need to get the infected tooth extracted. In case of TMJ disorders, you will need to get the condition properly diagnosed and treated at the earliest, as any kind of joint degeneration could prove to be very painful and irreversible. After a diagnosis has been made, treatment can begin. The common causes of a stiff jaw are almost all treatable, and in most cases jaw stiffness reduces gradually after treatment begins. Tetanus and other conditions that trigger muscle spasms involuntarily must be treated on an emergency basis.