What’s It Mean if Your Jaw Gets Locked? - The Center For Holistic Dentistry

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The feeling of a jaw that won’t close or open and seems as if it’s stuck is one of the worst feelings someone can experience. It’s terrifying, it’s painful, and it’s random. But what exactly causes it? The team at my Yorktown Heights dental office is here to hopefully ease your worries and explain what may be to blame.

Let’s Define it

Before we dive into the specifics of what may be causing your jaw to feel locked in position, we’d like to clear up some terminology. The term lockjaw isn’t the same thing as jaw lock, although often used interchangeably. Lockjaw is a result of tetanus — a very serious, potentially fatal bacterial infection usually caused by a cut from a rusty piece of metal. Jaw lock, however, is what we’re talking about here and is directly related to the temporomandibular joint, also referred to as the TMJ.

What’s Happening?

Now that we know the difference between lockjaw and jaw lock, let’s look into two possible explanations behind the latter.

  • The Bite. The bite is the term dentists use to describe how the top teeth and bottom teeth fit together. If the bite is bad, known as malocclusion, or shifts away from its normal position, the muscles in the jaw, neck, and face can become inflamed. When this happens, the muscles tighten and can no longer function smoothly and effectively. It’s this tightening that makes the jaw lock up.
  • The Jaw. The anatomy of the jaw itself may the reason behind the locking sensation. This joint has a piece of cartilage that separates the jaw bone and the rest of the skull. If this cartilage becomes damaged, usually from grinding, clenching, or an injury, it can slip out of place, causing the jaw to become stuck in place.

Symptoms of a Problem

It’s important to note that not all symptoms are experienced by everyone, and you should see your dentist in Yorktown Heights for a proper diagnosis. Some additional symptoms besides jaw lock include:

  • Recurring headaches
  • A clicking or popping noise or sensation when opening and closing the mouth
  • Jaw pain that increases when opening the mouth widely, like a yawn

Don’t have a dentist but experiencing jaw lock? We welcome you to call my Yorktown Heights dental office to schedule an appointment. We’ll evaluate your jaw joint and talk with you about the symptoms you’re having so we’re able to diagnose what’s happening and recommend the best treatment for you.

Accepting patients from Yorktown Heights, Putnam Valley, Mahopac, Cortland, Croton, Somers.

Your Top-Rated & New Favorite Dentist In Yorktown Heights, NY

"I can’t thank Dr. Lerner and his staff enough, notably his assistant Nicole for expertly handling my mercury filling removals.I had it done in 2 phases and they took very good care of me on both occasions. The whole office is very pleasant, so professional and I look forward to my visits. On this most recent cleaning appointment, Linda did my cleaning. She was gentle and thorough. Highly recommend."

- Vanessa R.

"Excellent experience during my initial consultation. The most complete examination I have ever had by a dentist, including full body muscle testing. This testing uncovered major alignment issues with my jaw which has been causing a lifetime of misalignment throughout the rest of my body. Dr. Lerner and his staff are outside the box thinkers and I am very happy I have found them."

- Greg R.

"Very professional and compassionate. Love the use of Nucalm, eye mask, calming music, and making removing my mercury fillings a pleasant experience. Well as pleasant as can be. Thank you!!!"

- Jodi B.

"Been seeing Dr Lerner since I was about 11 years old, I’m now 31! I continue to see Jane for cleanings and just did the zoom whitening treatment with them in preparation of my wedding- highly recommend!"

- Chloe L.

*The reviews listed are from actual patients of The Center For Holistic Dentistry. Individual results may vary. Reviews are not claimed to represent results for everyone.

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What To Expect On Your First Visit

Our mission is to encourage full-body wellness through oral health while allowing you to feel heard and understand all your options. During your new patient exam, Dr. Lerner will spend time reviewing your health history, concerns, and goals. Your comprehensive exam will address items you may not have considered such as airway screening and dental materials sensitivity testing. We look forward to meeting you!

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Comprehensive Review Of Your Health History & Concerns

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Evaluation Of Teeth, Bite, Gums & Airway Passage

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Low Radiation Digital X-Rays

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