Hallsville dental concerns: What is trismus?
Most of us take our jaw functionality for granted. Normally, you open your mouth freely to eat, speak, yawn, or brush your teeth, without giving it a second thought. However, it does not always work that way. Trismus is defined as limited mobility of one or both jaws, and it can be detrimental to your health and quality of life in many ways.
Trismus is not actually a disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying medical problem. It can be caused by several conditions affecting the muscles, nerves, or joints. The most common causes include:
- Facial injury, especially in the jaw area
- TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder)
- Jaw or facial surgery
- A growth (tumor) in the area of the jaw
- Bruxism related muscular fatigue
- Radiation treatment in the head or neck area
- Infection of or near the jaw
- Lockjaw (tetanus)
- Systemic autoimmune or nervous system disorders, such as lupus
Diagnosis and treatment
A dentist or physician may detect trismus based on a physical examination, x-rays, and other diagnostic techniques. The best treatment option depends on the cause. Problems such as bruxism can be corrected with an oral appliance, provided by your dentist. However, conditions such as autoimmune disorders need to be treated by a general physician or specialist.
Oral health challenges
Depending on the cause, trismus may be very short-lived, long-term, or permanent. A cooperative effort between you, your dentist, and your physicians is important for your health and quality of life.
One of the most significant challenges for individuals living with trismus is maintaining proper oral hygiene. If you cannot open your mouth wide enough to insert a toothbrush, a cotton swab may be used to clean your teeth. Antibacterial mouth rinse can help minimize the bacteria in areas that are not accessible. If hygiene is too difficult, ask Dr. Bruyere about other techniques, products, and tools that may be helpful.
Most importantly, don’t suffer in silence with limited jaw movement. Impaired ability to eat properly and keep your teeth clean can have serious repercussions. Additionally, diagnosis of the underlying cause is important for your health. Call 903.708.6116 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Bruyere today. He can assist you with oral hygiene and provide treatment or refer you to the appropriate specialist as necessary.