What Is Trismus?
Trismus is a condition in which the jaw of a person cannot open fully. The chewing muscles of the jaw get inflamed and contracted in the trismus, preventing the opening of the jaw more than around 33 mm.
As the jaw does not open fully, a person faces problems in swallowing food and liquid, talking, and brushing teeth. This condition is also called a locked jaw.
Trismus symptoms are quite easy to detect. Few major symptoms are as follows:
- Restricted jaw open
- Regular pain in the jaw, with or without movement
- Difficulty in eating or chewing food
- Jaw cramping
It is to be noted here that trismus is not the same as tetanus. Tetanus causes muscle stiffness in various body parts. This stiffness in muscles can occur in the head and neck, where the condition further leads to trismus.
Who Is At Risk?
Though trismus can develop in any person, there are certain factors that increase the chance of a person getting this disease. These risk factors are as follows:
- Having a medical history or radiation treatment of head or neck cancer
- Recent surgery for removing a wisdom tooth
- Any injury in mouth or jaw
- Having certain mouth infections
Trismus develops in a person when his or her jaw muscles get injured. Here is a list of trismus causes:
- Trauma: When jawbones are fractured in an accident, or when jawbones are immobilized to heal the fracture.
- Oral Surgery: Oral surgeries performed to extract wisdom tooth can cause inflammation in the jaw. Sometimes, the jaw has to be hyperextended for the surgery. These conditions can damage the surrounding tissues and can eventually lead to trismus.
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD): Temporomandibular joints are present on each side of the jaw performing the action of jaw opening. Any dysfunction of this joint can cause trismus.
- Radiation for head and throat cancer: Tumors of head and throat, or undergoing radiation therapy for the same cause trismus.
How Is Trismus Diagnosed?
The first step of trismus diagnosis involves performing a medical exam to look for any signs of cancer or abnormalities in joints. Later, your doctor can ask about:
- Any history of dental treatment
- Any injury of the jaw in the past
- Any history of radiation therapy of neck or head
CT scan or an MRI scan can also be prescribed to diagnose trismus.
How Is Trismus Treated?
Trismus cure depends on how early you start the treatment. In most cases, the condition gets cured completely if trismus treatment is given at the right time. Some of these treatment methods are:
- Jaw-stretching device: A device is fitted in the upper and lower jaw. Your doctor will tell you how to perform the stretches.
- Medication: To cure trismus, medicine is also prescribed by the doctor. The medicines given to you will reduce the symptoms like inflammation, and muscular pain.
- Physical therapy: Various physical therapies like massage and exercise are also prescribed as a cure.
If you or someone you know is suffering from trismus, Care.Fit can prove helpful for you. We have a team of dedicated doctors, that consults online and prescribe treatment according to your ease. To know more, go to Care.Fit’s website or app.
How Can Trismus be Prevented?
Though trismus is curable, it is best not to have it as it creates huge discomfort in day to day life. There can four ways by which trismus can be prevented, these are:
- Massage your jaw muscles: Put your fingers on your jaw and rub them gently on your jaw in circles. Make sure you do not rub it so hard that it starts to cause itching or pain.
- Exercise your jaw muscles: You should exercise your jaw muscles 2-3 times daily by stretching your jaw, and moving the lower jaw to left and right.
- Keep good posture: Your head, ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should be aligned in a line while sitting or standing. Not only for trismus prevention, but you should also keep your posture good to keep away from spinal cord problems in later life.
- Keep good oral hygiene: You can keep oral hygiene by following methods:
- Brush your teeth and tongue on a daily basis.
- In case of removable dentures, clean them every time you clean and freshen up your mouth.
- Floss teeth before sleeping.