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  • 6/20/2013

How to Get Rid of Lockjaw?

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.

Causes of lockjaw

· The bacterial infection tetanus caused by Clostridium tetani is historically one of the reasons for lockjaw but not the commonest. In most countries, all children are vaccinated against tetanus. If all five doses (three primary and two boosters) are received, immunity is for life.

· Having oral surgery such as removing the wisdom tooth is a common cause of lock haw.

· Habits such as clenching of teeth, teeth grinding and chewing fingernails have been associated with lockjaw. However, everyone who has these habits does not develop this condition.

· Oral infections, tumour of the bone at the region of the TMJ are other reasons leading to lockjaw.

· Injury to the jaw as in contact sports like boxing or in a road traffic accident

· In the elderly, arthritis of the TMJ should be considered as a possibility.

Symptoms and signs of lockjaw

The TMJ is a sliding type of hinge joint which lets the lower jaw or mandible be connected to the upper jaw which is a part of the skull. Due to the hinge joint, the upper and lower jaws work in unison causing movement of the joint.

· Chewing, talking and other movements of the jaw are painful

· The person is not able to open his mouth completely

· There may be pain around the ear

· Swelling and inflammation of the joint in case of infections

· A clicking sound is heard on moving the jaw

· Spasm of the jaw muscles – called trismus

In tetanus, lock jaw occurs in the later stages if treatment is not begun and is a serious sign which indicates the need for urgent and immediate medical care, otherwise the infection may be fatal.

Lockjaw Treatments

Lockjaw can be quite serious when left untreated, or when the condition does not dissipate by itself. Some cases of lockjaw may go away on their own, but it's best to seek medical attention when you're not sure that the illness will not pass.

Here are some of the treatments used for lockjaw:

· Warm compress. For mild cases of lockjaw, a hot water bag wrapped in a few terry cloth towels can help relax the muscles, as well as relieve some of the pain that comes with the condition. For severe cases of lockjaw, a warm compress can help reduce the stress and pain.

· Dental surgery. Lockjaw caused by impacted wisdom teeth can be eliminated and corrected by removing the tooth through dental surgery. Dental surgery is often more preferred than allowing the tooth to break out before it is extracted.

· Physical therapy. For patients suffering from temporomandibular joint syndrome, physical therapy is a recommended to help restore the motor functions of your jaw. Some physical therapists may recommend the use of orthodontic appliances and tools to help you recover from lockjaw.

· Muscle relaxants. Some cases of lockjaw may be caused by tensed-up muscles in the jaw that remain contracted even if they're not being used. Controlled doses of muscle relaxants can help relieve or cure lockjaw.

· Anti-inflammatories. For lockjaw caused by abscesses or inflammation, antibiotic treatment coupled with anti-inflammatory medication can help reduce the swelling that comes with lockjaw.

Preventing Lockjaw

Lockjaw is uncomfortable once it sets in, but it is a condition that can easily be prevented. Here are some ways for you to avoid lockjaw altogether:

· Chew properly. Your jaw can get temporarily locked if you don't chew your food properly. Take your time during chewing to avoid putting unnecessary stress on your jaw.

· Avoid stress. Stress is a leading factor in temporomandibular joint syndrome. Manage your stress accordingly to prevent getting lockjaw.

· Get vaccinated. The primary symptom of tetanus is lockjaw. While tetanus is still a pervasive problem all over the world, you can minimize risk of contracting the infection with a vaccine.

The worst effects of lockjaw may be nightmarish, but you don't have to go through the worst possible scenario. With these tips, you can get rid of a bad case of lockjaw and get back to your normal, everyday routines.


Sources:

hegeminigeek.com

mdhil.com

howtogetridofstuff.com


Other links:

Simple Ways to Eliminate Wisdom Toothache

Basic Dental Care

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