You might think it takes a major event to dislocate your jaw, such as a car accident or maybe a blow to the jaw (which, unless you’re a boxer, is hopefully not something that happens every day). But the truth is that it can be surprisingly easy to dislocate your jaw, resulting in jaw pain and the potential for progressive damage.

young woman with jaw pain

The Most Common Causes of Jaw Dislocation

Admittedly, many dislocated jaws are caused by forms of trauma, such as violent blows to the jaw, falls, and car accidents.

But jaw dislocation can be caused by “nontraumatic” events, and this is often caused by some surprisingly common actions. For example, chewing is the most common cause of nontraumatic jaw dislocation. In fact, it accounts for nearly two-thirds of all jaw dislocations without trauma.

The second most common cause of dislocating your jaw without trauma is yawning. Together, these two causes account for about 90% of all nontraumatic jaw dislocations.

Other causes of jaw dislocation include dental procedures such as extractions, vomiting, and surgical procedures, especially those that involve intubation for general anesthesia. Sometimes, the use of the mouth as an entry point for endoscopic surgery can also cause dislocation of the jaw.

You might think that it’s opening your jaw too wide that causes dislocation, and that can be the case, but dislocation can also be caused by closing your jaw. If your muscles don’t work in the proper sequence, they can dislocate your jaw as they try to close it. Although your muscles will normally follow the proper sequence, tension and overwork can cause spasms that will interfere with your jaws following the proper sequence.

TMJ Treatment Can Help

Once you have dislocated your jaw once, it may recur over and over again. This is not only painful, but it can be disabling, and may require a visit to the doctor or emergency room to fix.

Part of the reason why your jaw gets dislocated repeatedly is that your muscles develop bad habits or spasms because of overwork. If we can relax your jaw muscles, it’s usually possible to retrain them back into the proper sequence so your jaw will open and close normally again.

To learn whether TMJ treatment in River Edge might be able to help with your dislocated jaw or other cause of jaw pain, please call (201) 343-4044 for an appointment with a TMJ dentist at the River Edge Dental Center for TMJ, Sleep Apnea, and Reconstructive Dentistry.