There are many ailments that can plague our everyday lives from simple colds to serious medical conditions. The most dangerous thing about these is that they are often overlooked and people attempt to “tough them out” when really, they are symptoms of serious and sometimes lethal problems that must be examined and dealt with immediately. One of these ailments is lockjaw otherwise known as trismus. We take a look at what lockjaw is, along with the causes and symptoms.
What is lockjaw?
Lockjaw or trismus, refers to a disorder of the jaw muscles. It is a spasm of the mastication muscles in the jaw that limits the opening of the mouth. Clinically, trismus refers to the limitation of jaw opening or mouth opening due to muscular spasm. However, in a widely accepted concept, regardless of the cause behind this limitation, any type of difficulty in opening the mouth or jaw is referred to as lockjaw or trismus. Lockjaw causes serious trouble in speaking, eating or even in maintaining the usual oral hygiene. It can be a temporary problem, as well as a permanent one. However, temporary lockjaws are more frequent. In severe cases, it can even alter the facial appearance. It can be a seriously distressing and painful condition in which even swallowing becomes a problem. What makes it even more difficult is the limitation to examine or diagnose the oral cavity as opening the mouth is limited or absolutely impossible at times.
What causes lockjaw?
Lockjaw can occur due to various reasons. Though the problem itself is not harmful, it indicates a possibility of some other serious ailments, illnesses or health issues. These include:
How do you treat lockjaw?
Lockjaw is a very disturbing and painful condition. It is crucial that this condition not be dismissed as a minor issue, as it can actually indicate a serious internal illness. Hence, a proper diagnosis is a must and the treatment will always focus on curing the cause of the condition, so that the lockjaw disorder automatically subsides. If the underlying cause is tetanus, treatment must be exacted for that. Sometimes, dental problems and other oral diseases and illnesses lead to lockjaw. In that case, treatment should follow those illnesses. However, along with treating the underlying condition, it is a must that you take care of the painful condition of lockjaw itself. There are simple natural treatments and home remedies that can be quite useful. These include:
Apart from these useful methods, there are certain home remedies like applying hot garlic and mustard oil on the lockjaw and drinking herbal tea with chamomile, kava, passion flower and feverfew help in reducing the pain in lockjaw and release the locked muscles. However, before accessing these home remedies, seeing a doctor is a must as diagnosis of the root cause is crucial for lockjaw. Otherwise, the possible underlying disease may never subside.
Do you have any questions about lockjaw? Call Westermeier Martin Dental care to schedule an appointment with your dentist 716-655-5000 or request an appointment online.