What Should You Do if Your Jaw Locks Constantly?

It’s painful and frustrating when your jaw locks constantly.

You wake up in the morning, and you can’t open your mouth. You start to chew, then you feel a sharp pain. Your jaw pops and clicks when you talk.

jaw locks constantly

When your jaw locks constantly, it’s more than a passing nuisance. It affects you nearly every minute of the day. What’s wrong?

Do You Have a TMJ Disorder?

If your jaw locks constantly, you may be one of the 10 million people in the United States who suffers from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. TMJ disorder is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw, neck, shoulders or face
  • Constant headaches
  • A jaw that locks in the open or closed position
  • A jaw that clicks or pops while eating or talking
  • Teeth that don’t fit together anymore
  • Earaches
  • Dizziness
  • Stiff jaw muscles

If your jaw locks constantly and you have additional symptoms from this list, it’s likely that you have a problem with your temporomandibular joint, the joint that controls jaw movement. TMJ disorder can be caused by facial trauma, inflammation, teeth grinding, arthritis and more. Regardless of the cause, you need treatment to restore the joint’s normal function.

Visit Your Dentist or Oral Surgeon

Make an appointment with your dentist or your oral surgeon. They will conduct a physical assessment of jaw movement and evaluate your medical history. They will also use a test such as an X-ray, MRI or CAT scan to look for problems with the joint before making an official diagnosis.

Explore Treatment Options

If you’ve been diagnosed with TMJ disorder, rehabilitating the joint is the main objective. Depending on the extent of your condition, your oral care professional will first prescribe a range of non-surgical treatments. They may recommend using heat or ice packs to reduce swelling and pain. They will suggest altering your diet to include mostly soft foods while the joint heals. You may be outfitted with a mouthguard, and you may have to work with a physical therapist until the joint returns to normal.

If nonsurgical treatment doesn’t deliver successful results, you may need to undergo surgery to treat the problem. The surgeon may remove the inflamed areas of the joint and move the disc back into place, or they may opt to replace the joint entirely.

Call Us Today

When your jaw locks constantly, you need relief. Call Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery to set up a one-on-one consultation. We will examine your temporomandibular joint and run tests to determine the cause of the problem. We know you need immediate attention, and we are here for you.