Many people think that temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) begins with some major event. It’s easy to look back on a car crash or a blow to the jaw and see the cause of your dislocated jaw, but the cause of your jaw problems isn’t always something so dramatic. In fact, many jaw dislocations begin with normal activities that you do every day.

Normal things that can dislocate your jaw

The Most Common Causes of Jaw Dislocation

Many jaw dislocations are caused by traumatic events, but nontraumatic jaw dislocations are also common. And of these nontraumatic dislocations, the most common cause is something you do with your jaw several times a day: chewing. Chewing is the cause of nearly two-thirds of all nontraumatic jaw dislocations. The second most common cause is yawning. Together, these two causes account for about 90% of all nontraumatic jaw dislocations.

Other reported causes of jaw dislocation without trauma include situations where the mouth opens wide, such as dental extractions, vomiting, and surgical procedures. General anesthesia can lead to dislocation of the jaw because of intubation, the insertion of a breathing tube to sustain breathing with artificial respiration. But endoscopic procedures that use the mouth as an entry point can also cause dislocations.

Opening and Closing Can Both Cause Problems

There are many ways that your jaw can be dislocated during normal everyday activities. One is that you simply open your jaw too wide. This forces the jaw joint, and especially the cushioning disk in the jaw joint, out of place.

Another problem is returning from the wide open position. If your muscles don’t follow the proper sequence, your jaw won’t go back into its proper position. It’s like trying to refold a large, complicated map. If you do all the folds in the right order, the map folds back into its original compact form. But if you don’t follow the right sequence, the map turns into a jumbled mess. And once you get the folds out of order, they may never fold right again. Frequently, your jaw muscles don’t work in the proper order because one or more of them is experiencing spasms from tension and overwork.

TMJ Treatment Can Help

Often, these dislocations happen over and over again, resulting in jaw pain, locked jaw, and other symptoms. This is because once your jaw has been dislocated, it may not want to fold again properly. Or perhaps muscle tension is causing spasms that lead to jaw dislocations.

TMJ treatment can help by retraining your jaw so that it follows the proper sequence for folding again. It can also reduce muscle tension and spasms to prevent future dislocations.

To learn whether TMJ treatment can help with your jaw pain in Savannah, please call (912) 234-8282 for an appointment with a TMJ dentist at The Durham Office, providing Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.