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What is trismus? 

Trismus refers to a painful condition in the jaw when the chewing muscles become inflamed making it difficult for the mouth to open completely. Trismus is also known as lockjaw and usually happens when a muscle or nerve in the jaw area is damaged. This lockjaw affects the normal motion of the mandible. Trismus can be caused by  tetanic spasm of the masticatory muscles or by a motor impairment of the trigeminal nerve, resulting in a lockjaw. Trismus affects a person’s normal speech, confidence, swallowing and oral hygiene.

What are the symptoms of trismus?

The common Trismus symptoms include:

  • Limited ability to open the mouth, facial swelling accompanied by fever if there is an infection, dull pain in the affected side and inability to chew solid food.
  • Most people even find it difficult to yawn or perform regular activities such as brushing teeth which leads to bad breath and oral infections.
  • Muscle tightness and cramping are also very common Trismus symptoms. Lockjaw treatment is immediately administered when the pain becomes unbearable.

What causes trismus or lockjaw?

Trismus causes stem from several reasons such as:

  • Trauma caused to the mouth
  • Oral surgery and infections of the oral cavity, especially after the extraction of a wisdom tooth
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD) which can be stress-related or genetic
  • Due to radiation from throat cancer, in extreme cases
  • Tetanus Infection

What happens during trismus treatment?

Trismus or lockjaw treatment begins soon after diagnosis. Given that the person is unable to open the mouth enough, the orthopedic doctor will recommend a speech and language therapist or a physiotherapist to work on the lockjaw. Trismus treatment involves plenty of jaw exercises, using certain equipment or devices. The doctor will also suggest a diet of soft food to ease your jaws from the pain, post which the doctor will prescribe muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medicines. If the cause is from an infection, the treatment of the infection is a must. Only in extreme cases of lockjaw treatment will the doctor suggest surgery.

While lockjaw can be painful and difficult to manage, it is often temporary. A person must seek lockjaw treatment immediately as there are plenty of ways to get better. Most doctors would recommend the patient to rest it out and minimise chewing or grinding of teeth to avoid the situation from getting worse.

Seek help using mfine

If you feel like you might have Trismus or lockjaw, it is important that you visit an ENT hospital. They might refer you to a dental surgeon and an orthopedician, based on the severity of the condition. You can download the mfine app to schedule an instant consultation with top orthopedicians and dentists.

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