Lockjaw

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Lockjaw

Lockjaw (also known as trismus), is a painful condition in which the chewing muscles of the jaw become contracted and sometimes inflamed, preventing the mouth from fully opening. For most people, fully opening the mouth means opening it beyond 35 millimeters (mm) wide — a little greater than the width of two fingers.

What is Lockjaw?

Lockjaw refers to any condition with a reduced ability to open the mouth. A person with a lockjaw temporarily (or in some cases, permanently) loses the ability to open and/or close the mouth. 

Lockjaw

Signs and Symptoms of Lockjaw

Lockjaw affects both sides of the jaw, and can occur suddenly. Symptoms of Lockjaw include:

  • Inability to open or close the mouth properly
  • Headaches
  • Jaw pain, even without movement
  • Earaches
  • Difficulty in speech and swallowing 
  • Can lead to dry mouth or sore/inflamed mouth

Causes of Lockjaw

Lockjaw can occur when there’s damage or injury to the muscles of the jaw. This can happen due to:

  • Trauma
  • Oral Surgery
  • TMJ Dysfunction
  • Radiation treatment for throat and head cancer

Statistics and Epidemiology related to Lockjaw

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