What are the Best Treatment Options for Lock Jaw?

Defined as an abnormal condition of the jaw muscle, lock jaw is a condition that thousands of people deal with on a daily basis. Painful and also frustrating, it can have a major impact on a person’s ability to properly open and close their mouth, and can even impact their ability to swallow. Because of this, it is important that once lock jaw takes hold, it be treated as soon as possible. While in extreme cases it is sometimes necessary to visit a doctor or emergency room to get relief, the vast majority of people are able to use a variety of home remedies or appliances given to them by dentists to manage the problem. If you suffer from lock jaw or know someone who does, here are some of the most common and best treatment options.

Stabilization Splints

If your lock jaw problem is painful and happens on a frequent basis, a dentist may give you a stabilization splint. Commonly known as a bite guard, it is made to be a custom-fit for your mouth and can be worn on either the upper or lower teeth, depending on where your dentist determines the problems stems from the most. By wearing the bite guard, which is done mostly at night while sleeping, the goal is to relax the jaw muscle and keep it in its proper position.

Botox

While many people assume Botox is used only for cosmetic procedures and other related medical procedures, more and more doctors and dentists are now using it to help patients suffering from lock jaw. Approved by the FDA, a small amount of Botox is injected into the patient’s jaw muscles, helping to reduce pain and make it easier to open and close the mouth. While more studies are currently being conducted on this treatment method, many patients swear by their regular Botox treatments.

Stretching Exercises

For people who have numerous episodes of lock jaw, doctors and dentists often recommend a variety of stretching exercises aimed at strengthening and stretching the jaw muscles. By doing these exercises each day, patients can often alleviate or virtually eliminate their lock jaw episodes. For best results, doctors recommend doing these exercises about 10 times per day. While this may sound excessive, the exercises can easily be done while at work, school, or when doing numerous other activities.

Hot Compresses

For many lock jaw sufferers, hot compresses are very effective at ending a lock jaw episode. Since the heat will help relax the muscle spasms and increase blood flow to the area, it can be a quick and effective way to solve the problem. For best results, the compress should be left on for anywhere from 15-30 minutes.

Increased Magnesium

When some people suffering from lock jaw visit a doctor for help with the problem, it is often discovered they have a low magnesium intake within their normal diet. Upon discovering this, doctors will recommend various changes to a person’s diet in an effort to eliminate or reduce the lock jaw episodes. Since a lack of magnesium in one’s diet can lead to increased muscle contraction, doctors recommend a person eat an increased amount of green vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. If dietary restrictions make this difficult, magnesium supplements can be taken instead.

Get More Calcium

Along with needing more magnesium, many people also find they are running low on calcium. When this happens, jaw muscles can become weakened, making it easier for lock jaw to occur. To keep this from happening, you can drink a bit more milk, eat more fish, or take a 1000 mg calcium supplement daily.

While lock jaw can be a very painful and difficult condition to deal with on a regular basis, the good news is that it rarely requires surgical intervention to correct. By working with your doctor or dentist to discover the underlying problem, lock jaw can be easily treated.

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