For the past 12 days I have only been able to open my mouth part way- I can only fit the width of 2 fingers in my mouth. I saw a GP, and they just said wait a couple of days and hopefully the muscles loosen & it opens. No improvement so I went to the dentist 5 days after the initial locking up. The dentist tried to do some gentle stretching of my jaw muscles, but said the muscles were in spasm so I have been prescribed 5mg valium to take per night. My mouth still isnt opening & I have now been taking valium for 7 nights now. I'm also using hot packs to try to relax the muscles.
I'm a grinder and clencher & I can feel that the muscle relaxant medication has helped me relax my jaw as my jaw & teeth aren't acheing in the morning, however I don't know why my mouth still won't open? The dentist is going to try some more jaw muscle stretching (he doesn't actually push at the jaw bone though). I will need a splint, but how can I get one made if my jaw won't open up wide enough for one to be made?!
Is there any jaw manipulation methods or other solutions? Or will my jaw just remain like this? I'm on a limited diet of soft foods etc.
There are a few other things you can try although I am not saying they will work - but trigger point injections which contain and a muscle relaxer (like lydacaine) and novacaine sometimes works as would a tens unit (electrical impulses) - some dentists prefer one to the other and others offer both. Sometimes anti-inflamatory meds can help like ibuprofen.
Also - tongue/jaw exercises may help too - either your dentist can describe them or most tmj web sites offer them as well - the one I seem to recall the most is slowly saying the number "9" pushing the tip of your tongue up toward the center of your palate, repeat saying the number "9" slowly several times, but each time the tongue goes toward the roof of your mouth bring it further back toward the throat - this forces the jaw to open wider and wider.
Was there anything that you bit on before your jaw locked in?
Let your jaw rest and relax. It has to drop down in order to unlock and let the disk back in place which is likely the case of your lock.
So do not let the teeth touch. Instead try biting on something like dental cotton rolls (on both sides of your teeth). You can make similar rolls from paper towels of whatever (maybe some fabric or what you will feel reasonable to bite upon). Keep them in your mouth for 1/2 hour or more. Just listen to your body and your jaw. Relax your shoulders (arms) and try to think of extending your spine and being longer.
Heat is good too, anything that you like and that can help your muscles relax.
My mouth lock was caused by grinding/clenching at night (over a period of time). I also clench in the day. I was fine one day & then that evening out of the blue my mouth locked up. I don't know why it happened at that particular time. I had really sore back molars and a headache for a few days after the lock, but really no pain in the actual jaw joints- I just can't make it open further.
The dentist did some more jaw manipulation since my last post- he did a fair bit of pressure on the jaw this time, but really no improvement with the opening. He gave me a little thing that keeps my teeth from coming together, which I think helps stop me doing further damage. Overall from taking the muscle relaxants & the jaw manipulation my mouth opening has only improved by 1-4mm at best, to a total opening of around 3cm. My jaw is a little bit tender at the moment from the manipulation, but not too painful. He said that as a dentist there's nothing he can do with the mouth opening, so I've been referred to a jaw surgeon. Not for surgery though, but just some other alternatives & for a second opinion. The jaw discs have apparently been pushed forward & won't go back.
I really don't know what to do...I don't know if it's best to just leave my jaw alone & it will heal itself or see the specialist? The dentist seemed to think these things don't heal by themselves. I'm grateful I can eat still mushy foods & at least can talk, I'm scared things will get worse if I mess with my jaw too much.....
I think you may need perhaps a NTI splint , for mouth opening.. i am here for you.. the odd thing is i have never ever suffered limited mouth opening but my NTI device actually helped widen my jaw.. as apparently my jaw wasnt opening wide enough..
Do you also suffer earaches like me.. ??
Use heat ... its heaven on the jaw muscles.. plus when you have deep itchy ears i heard its good as you're jaw is adjusting itself to a good position .. anyone agree?
Thanks so much for your support Temera. No I don't get earaches... what is that type of splint? I know I will need a splint for my grinding/clenching for the future, but I'm waiting on my mouth opening first...I think it would be hard to get the moulds to make the splint into my mouth!
Living with this is hard...it's so easy to take your mouth for granted. I feel pretty alone, everyone I know has never heard of a jaw not opening/jaw problems & its hard at work because everyone is like 'are you still going to the dentist' as if i'm weird & keep asking if it's opened yet. Even stuff like staff/social lunches/parties are depressing because you can't eat stuff off the menu & people think you're weird for not eating. Dining out used to be fun..now it's just a burden. It's hard managing work when you've always got dental appointments & managers don't understand what you're going through. It's hard not to stress/get down about it - what are tips on staying positive. I just keep thinking that things could be so much worse & i should be grateful that I haven't got something life threatening...
That's the right place for you to get a lot of understanding!!! This is for sure.
Some of us just could not be working at all any more. For me it feels like I am in prison, can't work, can't go out, can't socialize, all my life if planned around the dental appointments... it's very depressing to say the least, plus all the pains... I just try to focus on the possible light in front of the tunnel, otherwise it's hopeless to survive this...
In regards to your limited opening this is the first thing a tmj surgeon checks, so it is not a rare symptom. The disks can possibly go back on their own IF the proper jaw position is available. What I mean is that there should not be any teeth on the way in that place where the jaw wants to be.
The thought I have about you is related to the sore back molars when this started. This can actually indicate that they did not or do not allow the jaw to go back easily. This alone will explain all your symptoms!
I can't think of a good way how you could have this checked except with a dentist skilled in occlusion and tmj.
If you can locate someone near you from Pankey Institute or Kois center I'd go for a consultation and tell them what you wrote about the start of it. If your last molars touch first, this can cause your tmj problem.
Meanwhile, yes, keep on doing whatever helps to relax overall!