Ways to Deal Effectively With Jaw lock/ Sprain

posted in: General Dentistry | 0

Jaw sprain or jaw strain is the most common noninfectious dental complication that many people experience as a result of dental care. In this blog, we will disclose all things related to jaw strain and the best dental care treatment to relieve the symptoms of jaw sprain.

Jaw strain/sprain is usually followed by:

  • Severe joint pain
  • Limited motion
  • Muscle tenderness, and
  • Muscle and joint dysfunction

If jaw strain is left untreated for long, it can turn into a more severe or chronic condition. Let’s know more about jaw and muscle strain/sprain.

What is jaw and muscle strain/sprain?

Jaw and muscle strain/sprain, also known as JAMSS, is an acute musculoskeletal disorder that can be the result of a traumatic or mechanical injury. Trauma to the jaw may include previous injuries, a direct blow, yawning too wide, bruxism (grinding and clenching of teeth), dental infections, and others.

As per a study by the Journal of American Dental Association, about 61% of jaw trauma cases came from dental treatment, with 23% of these cases from new-onset trauma from third molar extractions. So, if you have any of these issues, you are at a higher risk of jaw strain/sprain.

Difference between jaw sprain and jaw strain

A jaw sprain is the extreme stretching or tearing of ligaments. It can occur to the ligaments close to the jaw when they are stretched wider than usual. The tearing of the ligament fibers may vary from mild to severe based on the number of ligaments torn or affected.

Jaw strain on the other hand, generally involves an injury to the muscle or tendons. Jaw strains usually happen because of the constraints and stresses placed on the muscle fibers. When the muscles fail to handle more stress, it causes the muscle fibers to tear.

What are the signs and symptoms of jaw strain/sprain?

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of jaw strain/sprain include:

  • Pain or tenderness in jaws
  • Limited jaw movement
  • Tightness or stiffness of cheek muscle
  • Jaw popping
  • Headaches or earaches
  • Discomfort or pain while opening the mouth wide
  • Pain or discomfort when chewing or biting
  • Undergone a dental treatment
  • When you feel extra cautious about your jaws while opening or closing your mouth

People who had previous jaw issues are moderate to higher risk patients for jaw muscle strain/sprain. If you have had some jaw issues in the past, be careful about your dental appointments that can again cause jaw issues.

What conditions can cause jaw muscle sprain/strain?

Some of the common conditions that can cause jaw muscle sprain/strain include:

  • Lengthy dental care appointments
  • Several appointments in a short time frame
  • Taking multiple injections
  • Bilateral work in the back teeth, etc.

After a dental procedure, you are likely to experience pain or discomfort in or around the treated area and this is perfectly normal. However, if the pain persists for long and is beyond the normal pain level of a dental procedure, it is important to see a doctor immediately to treat the jaw sprain to prevent it from becoming chronic and lasting.

What dental procedures can increase the risk of jaw muscle strain/sprain?

If we talk about the dental procedures that may cause Jaw joint and muscle strain/sprain, then it is the wisdom teeth extractions. Why? Well, here are some of the key reasons:

  • Wisdom teeth extraction procedures are usually bilateral and require multiple injections including the lower arch.
  • In this procedure, a patient has to keep his mouth wide open which causes overextending of the ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
  • This procedure involves a lot of pressure or force that is required to remove the teeth, especially if the teeth are located in the bone or have long roots anchored well.
  • Keeping your mouth wide-open for long can create a lot of discomfort and you may start experiencing jaw joint and muscle strain/sprain.
Tips to deal with jaw muscle strain/sprain during a dental procedure

It is vital to note that jaw strain/sprain may affect people in different ways. However, the symptoms and treatment options are usually the same. Here are some of the key tips or treatment options to deal with jaw strain/sprain:

  • Consult your doctor and ask all the details about the procedure like the duration, how it will be performed, is it painful, and other details.
  • You can ask for breaks during a dental procedure if you are feeling extreme discomfort or pain.
  • You can even ask for a bite block as it can help to reduce the strain on the jaw muscles.
  • Make sure you take an anti-inflammatory before the dental procedure.
  • You can ask your dentist for shorter appointment times where you don’t have to keep your mouth wide-open for a long time.
  • If you are at significant risk for jaw joint and muscle strain/sprain, make sure to communicate it in advance to your dental service provider so that they can schedule the appointment appropriately with extra time for breaks.
Tips to avoid jaw muscle strain/sprain after a dental procedure

By following the below-mentioned tips, you can prevent the chances of jaw strain/sprain after a dental procedure:

  • Use anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing medications as prescribed by your doctor.
  • If you feel any strain happens in the muscles, you can apply cold compresses on the tender area to reduce the inflammation. Cold compresses help in relieving pain and swelling. After that you can apply heat compresses to increase the oxygen supply and promote healing to the affected area.
  • Your doctor may advise you to apply a little pressure to the treated area as it helps in removing extra fluid and cellular waste, thereby increasing the range of motion.
  • You can try massage as it helps in reducing swelling and inflammation while promoting better blood circulation.
  • After the treatment, make sure to stick to softer foods for some time. Also, try to chew on both sides of the mouth to even out pressure.
  • Avoid things or habits that put extra stress and pressure on your jaws such as grinding and clenching of teeth, biting your cheeks and tongue, resting the jaw on hand for long, opening your mouth too long or wide.
  • It is advisable to do jaw exercises and it helps in promoting tightness in the jaw and muscles, and also improves motion.

To conclude, jaw strain/sprain can be very painful. However, by following all the measures, good oral hygiene habits, and the tips mentioned in this blog, you can prevent or reduce the chances of jaw strain/sprain. Also, make sure to get your dental care treatment from a professional dental clinic in Roswell like TruCare as they provide the right treatment after properly analyzing your dental condition. They also provide effective tips for post-treatment care. Schedule your next visit for dental treatments.