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A 44-year-old member asked:

What causes lock jaw?

9 doctor answers12 doctors weighed in
Dr. Daniel Quon
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 42 years experience
Several causes: Lock jaw or the inability to open or close the lower jaw can be related to a number of causes. An infection, spasm of the muscles that control the opening and closing of the lower jaw, a broken jaw that did not heal correctly, and problems associated with the meniscus or disc in the TMJ are some possible causes.
Dr. Gary Lederman
Dentistry 40 years experience
Disc dislocation: A limitation in the ability to move the lower jaw suggests the dislocation of the disc in the jaw joint. When it has moved from its normal position, the jaw cannot move as well. It can occur on one or both sides. It may be associated with pain, but not necessarily. Non-surgical treatment is focused on stabilizing jaw position so the disc can return to its normal position and remain there.
Dr. David Schleimer
A Verified Doctor commented
A US doctor answered Learn more
In the most obscure and rarest sense "lock Jaw" is a latent symptom of a person suffering from tetanus. Just being complete.
Dec 24, 2012
Dr. Martin Raff
Infectious Disease 56 years experience
You mean "lockjaw"?: Good that you separated the two words because the one above relates to tetanus, in which there is muscular rigidity of a host of areas due to paralysis of inhibitory neurons by the toxin produced by clostridium tetani.
Dr. Gregory LaMorte
Periodontics 42 years experience
See a dentist: A pathological condition in which the mouth is held shut by sustained spasm of the masseter (jaw) muscle, often observed in cases of tetanus. It can also be an anatomical problem where the lower jaw comes forward out of its socket.
Dr. Louis Gallia
Surgery - Oral & Maxillofacial 45 years experience
See oral surgeon.: True "lockjaw" is from tetanus bacteria entering your body: Spasms and stiffness in your jaw muscles, stiffness of your neck muscles, difficulty swallowing, stiffness of your abdominal muscles. I'm assuming you mean you jaw stuck. Can either be do jaw out of socket or problem with disk in jaw joint. In any event, see an oral surgeon to help you with diagnosis and treatment.
Dr. Alan Ali
Dr. Alan Alianswered
Psychiatry 32 years experience
Lockjaw: Most common cause of lockjaw (trismus) is inflammation of soft tissue around impacted third molar tooth (lower wisdom teeth). Other causes can be inflammation of muscles of mastication (chewing) after removal of wisdom teeth, peritonsillar abscess (around inflamed tonsils), tmj, or rarely result of use of stimulants to treat adhd.
Dr. Larry Lutwick
Infectious Disease 49 years experience
Classically, lockjaw: Is a term for tetanus but it can be used for disease of the TMJ joint of the jaw.
Dr. Ronald Achong
Oral &Maxillofacial Surgery 18 years experience
Tmj: Many things can cause the jaw to lock such as disk problems in the jaw joint, arthritis, fracture of the joint, jaw muscle issues, multiple surgeries on the joint and pathology/growth in the joints. See a dentist for an evaluation.
Dr. Louis Gallia
Surgery - Oral & Maxillofacial 45 years experience
A few things: True "lockjaw" is from tetanus bacteria entering your body: Spasms and stiffness in your jaw muscles, stiffness of your neck muscles, difficulty swallowing, stiffness of your abdominal muscles. I'm assuming you mean you jaw stuck. Can either be do jaw out of socket or problem with disk in jaw joint. In any event, see an oral surgeon to help you with diagnosis and treatment.

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Similar questions

A 47-year-old member asked:

Can street drugs cause lock jaw?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Daniel Sampson
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 26 years experience
See below: I am assuming you are referring to true lockjaw caused by tetanus. The answer is that anything can be infected with the tetanus bacilli and if you inject something contaminated with the tetanus bacillus, then yes, you can develop lockjaw.
A 35-year-old member asked:

What to do about lock-jaw?

3 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Steven Koos
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 21 years experience
Acutely: If you can not reduce it yourself (meaning place it back into articulation within the fossa) then you should seek the immediate help of an oral & maxillofacial surgeon or present to an urgent care center or ed to have it manually reduced. Longer it remains locked open, the more the surrounding musculature will constrict & spasm. Skeletal muscle relaxants & sedatives often needed before & after.

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Last updated Apr 12, 2020
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