Located in the front lower part of the ear, the temporomandibular joint or TMJ allows the lower jaw to move. When you open your mouth wide, a ball known as the condyle makes its way out of the socket, moves forward, and goes back into place when the mouth closes. When the condyle moves too far and gets stuck in front of a bony area called the articular eminence, TMJ becomes dislocated.
If your mouth and jaw sits open naturally and you cannot close your mouth, you may be facing TMJ dislocation. To treat this condition, you need the TMJ to relax so that the condyle can return to its normal position. If you have TMJ dislocation, a dentist may pull the lower jaw downward and tip the chin upward to allow the condyle to set free. The dentist will then guide the ball back into its socket. Fortunately, surgery is rarely necessary.
Once the TMJ is relocated, the dentist will recommend you adhere to a soft food or liquid diet for a few days to reduce the stress and movement on the jaw. In addition, they’ll suggest that you avoid ice cubes, carrots, and other hard foods and refrain from opening your mouth too widely.
Schedule an Appointment at Costa Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
If your mouth and jaw sit open naturally, you may have TMJ dislocation and require treatment. Call our office at 703-439-1214 to determine your condition and find out which treatment is right for you.