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Trismus (also known as lock jaw) is the inability to normally open the mouth due to one of many causes.


Common Causes

  • Pericoronitis (inflammation of soft tissue around impacted third molar) is the most common cause of trismus.
  • Inflammation of muscles of mastication. It is a frequent sequel to surgical removal of mandibular third molars (lower wisdom teeth). The condition usually resolves on its own in 10-14 days, during which time eating and oral hygiene is compromised. The application of heat (e.g. heat bag extraorally, and warm salt water intraorally) may help reducing the severity and duration of the condition.
  • Peritonsillar abscess, a complication of tonsillitis which usually presents with sore throat, dysphagia, fever, and change in voice.
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)

Other Causes


Treatment requires treating the underlying condition. Additionally, control of symptoms with pain medications (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, and warm compresses may be used.


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Trismus". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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