How to Get Rid of Lockjaw?

While most people associate lockjaw with tetanus, the truth is there may be a number of other causes for this troublesome and health-threatening condition. This malady used to be a lot more common and over the years it has become the stuff of legends and myths. But medical research shows that there are some basic and understandable situations that can be avoided, thus reducing or eliminating the possibility of lockjaw.

Known by a more scientific name (trismus) people have given this condition the common name because the jaw actually becomes locked or so stiff that it is impossible to move it normally. Keep in mind that lockjaw is different than the problems caused by a tetanus infection. Lockjaw involves a particular nerve associated with the jaw, making it impossible to open and close the mouth. This condition often involves constant ache or extreme pain. Lockjaw should be treated immediately and properly to avoid long-term problems.

One way to “get rid of” lockjaw is to avoid it in the first place. But this involves knowing about several possible causes. Lockjaw can be caused by inflamed tissue or infection around the particular nerve that controls the jaw (trigeminal nerve). If an individual has an abscess on a back tooth and the sensitive tissue in the area becomes infected the nerves can be affected.

Some prescription and non-prescription drugs may cause abnormal nerve activity in the face or mouth, leading to lockjaw. A condition of the joint that moves the jaw (commonly known as TMJ) is a more “mechanical” or “physical” cause. As mentioned earlier. A tetanus infection in the muscles can lead to lockjaw and extreme pain.

LockjawBut, how do we get rid of lockjaw if it has already started? First of all, we should re-emphasize that this is a serious condition that should not be ignored or taken lightly. If it is not treated immediately and properly there can be long-term, life-changing effects. In milder cases indicated by stiffness or temporary locking of the jaw, some people are able to find relief with warm cloths applied to the affected area to relax muscles and relieve pain.

In more advanced cases, it may be necessary to seek the help of a dental surgeon. For example, an impacted wisdom tooth may be the culprit, putting pressure on the nerves or stopping the trigeminal nerve from working altogether. In TMJ cases, when the problem is “mechanical” as mentioned earlier, a physical therapist might be able to help.

In some situations, it is necessary to turn to prescription medicines to relax jaw muscles and/or reduce the inflammation and swelling that can affect the important nerves. These medicines are sometimes prescribed for those who have an abscessed tooth or an infection that causes swelling.

In the long-term, however, it is essential that we prevent lockjaw by not using illegal drugs that may cause the condition (amphetamines) and by keeping our tetanus inoculation current. Regular visits to a dentist for examinations may also stop potential lockjaw situations from occurring.

Category: Health, Human Body

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