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Still Problems To Open The Jaw After Dental Treatment. Has Anyone Ever Had Trismus?

Looks like I am suffering from Trismus. This term refers to mouth and jaw opening problems. I had a dental treatment behind me as I mentioned earlier and I also had some appointments as the dentist wanted to check out the wound healing and he removed bone fragments from the wound.

I told the dentist that I have problems with my jaw and to open the mouth. The mouth corner was a little bit torn after the first big treatment but I had this problem for a week and then was everything ok. But I still couldn´t and I still can´t open my mouth and the jaw. The dentist said that I would suffering from Trismus as the jaw musculature is strained due to the treatment. He said this would go away over time and I should just practice to open the mouth, even if it hurts, I should try to open my mouth with the fingers until it hurts. Not too far, but he said I should practice this carefully each day.

I did that over the last week and I must say it hurts and I have a numb right cheek after the exercises similar as if I got a local anesthesia. It´s annyoing. But now the biggest problem is that it seems that it´s getting worse after the exercises. I now can open my mouth only 0.5 inches (1,5 cm). This sounds funny but I noticed today that it is not possible to eat a hamburger anymore unless I could the hamburger in tiny pieces. To be honest, this sucks.

Sometimes I do even bump with the fork on my teeth while eating anything. You think you can open you mouth as always but it is not possible and this is why you hit your teeth with the fork. It´s awful, really awful.

The first dental treatment was on January 23 and we now have February 26 and it gets worse. When I visited the dentist again last week, he said he would not be able to go on with my other teeth until I can´t open the mouth properly. He said he would give me two more weeks and the appointment is next Monday on March 3. This is in a few days and I will tell him the same as before. I still can´t open the mouth correctly as I still suffer from Trismus. And that since over a month now.

I wonder what he will tell me next. Last time he said it is a temporary condition but temporary is a very broad definition! Maybe there is not only a problem with my jaw musculature? Maybe there is an injection or maybe even something with the nerve? I am very worried after reading on Wikipedia about Trismus that a dental Trismus is characterized by a difficulty in opening the jaw, but that this is a temporary condition with a duration usually not longer than two weeks. My Trismus absolutely exceeded the two weeks. What is so unusual in my case?

I am not sure if it makes sense to wait until Monday. Maybe I should visit the Dentist again tomorrow since it is worse after his suggested exercises. Have you ever had a Trismus after a dental treatment? What´s you experience?

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15 Comments »

  1. I found your blog as I was searching for what to call this. I have the same, exact problem as you have described, but only after a dental appointment that was for a right side molar filling. It has been two weeks now and I cannot fit two fingers into my mouth – the gap between my upper and lower teeth is too small. The same is true for a toothbrush and food, which must be eaten in small pieces. As I am in Poland, I am reluctant to go to a doctor that can’t understand me in the country ranked 34th out of 35 EU countries for their heath system.

    I am becoming fearful that this will become permanent and I cannot imagine living my life in this way, unable to enjoy simple pleasures.

    • It does even hurt to remind back, because I remember how annoying that was. I can feel with you… at the end I had to go to the physiotherapy, it was a long procedure with two appointments per week, over the time of 6 weeks or so. But at some point there was improvement, it really helped.

      So, I would suggest you to ask a dentist, so that he can refer you to a physiotherapist, but I see your problem that you are in another country now. For how long are you there? I think at the end there will be no other way than contacting a physiotherapist, because they help you and teach you how to get back to a normal mouth opening. It worked out well: https://diaryofdennis.com/2014/05/15/physiotherapy-helped-a-lot/ and the therapy was enough to “fix” the problem, but the procedure was quite annoying to be honest.

      In the physiotherapy I got homeworks, exercises I could do at home… I’d like to tell you what I had to do and how it helped, but I am afraid this is something that you can not explain via text, it’s better if a physiotherapist shows you, really. 😦 I remember I had to massage certain muscles, and working against the mouth opening by trying to open the mouth anyway, and closing it again (but not violently, rather slow trying)… took some time, but as said after all it helped and the problem was gone after 6 weeks or so.

      I hope you find a doc, because I remember that this is extremely annoying… but I believe a lot of people in Poland speak English too, especially doctors, that’s what I assume. You really need to do something against it, because it can get worse if your muscles go limp… because as it is now, you don’t use your mouth muscles anymore, and that is a problem.

      • Hello Dennis, thank you for sharing your ordeal however unfortunate it was for you then. Would you be able to say that dental trismus is indeed temporary? And that you regained full normal control of your jaw? I had a filling done 8 days ago and I’ve just started developing trismus at 25mm hence my interest in this.

        • Hello Shaio,

          I had the problem from January to May in the year I wrote it, but yes, in my case it was temporary. It took a long time, but I got physiotherapy and this helped a lot: https://diaryofdennis.com/2014/05/15/physiotherapy-helped-a-lot/

          So, after that I had no more issues with it, and no problems stayed. I feel with you, because trismus is really annoying… I hope you and the doctors can solve this quickly. Not sure if physiotherapy is paid by the health insurance in your country, but if it is, do it… it really helped, althought it was quite strange at first when this therapist did massage the muscles in my mouth and other things. I also got homeworks, excercises that I had to do at home… some of them are described on this website: https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/trismus

          I hope you have this behind you very soon, I still remember how annoying trismus is.

  2. I also have developed this condition after a tooth extraction one week ago. It is very frustrating not even being able to fit a grape into my mouth and chewing is quite painful and stiff. I am hoping things improve soon.

    • I feel with you. Still can remember how awful that is 😦 I hope you will get this behind you soon. I also couldn’t chew anything… did mostly eat soups at that time 😦

      • Hi Dennis. I ate soups continuously for the first four days. I am managing to chew a little now but have to make sure the pieces of food aren’t too big or tough.
        I am really puzzled as to what causes this problem. I have always hated going to the dentist but I have never had this problem afterwards. I had a very big tooth removed from my lower jaw as I developed an abscess and my dentist who is very experienced decided to extract the tooth. Unfortunately it was a difficult extraction as the roots broke and it had to be surgically removed. I am not sure whether it was this difficult extraction or the big dental injection that has caused the Trismus. My dentist says he has not seen case of this before. I wonder how common it is? I read that you found physiotherapy useful. It must have been a very worrying experience for you and for it to go on so long. It had only been 7days for me yet but still very limited mouth opening 😦

        • I did speculate about this too. To be honest, my doctor was a bit strange and unfriendly, which is why I thought he was maybe not a good doctor and maybe he did open my mouth/jaw too much during sedation (I got midazolam/dormicum). But how can I know 🙂 I basically was offline from this world during surgery 😀

          Yes I never had this happen to me either before that, which is why my alarm bells did ring. Because it was super annoying. I visisted a second dentist at that time and he told me to go to physiotherapy. He also said it’s not common but it happens, but he didn’t tell my why or how often. At least here where I live, I am not very happy with our doctors… they all speak in riddles or don’t tell you anything at all and you have to try to get information’s out of them. Today I have better doctors, but it wasn’t easy to get to this point because it’s usually a long search when you need to find a new and good one.

          However, I listed to him and got my appointments for physiotherapy and it was a super long battle to get rid of the problem. Several months and physiotherapy was not funny because they manually helped me to open my mouth more and more with each appointment. Also they massaged some kind of muscles in my mouth (of course with gloves), which was extremely painful. I also got homeworks, that I have to do special exercises at home each day. Took a long time but I eventually got rid of the issue after months. I’d say it helped, I just don’t know how it would have been without.

          Whenever I get a comment on my old article about trismus, or an email… I really feel with you guys. Trismus sucks a lot.

  3. It really is a horrible problem Dennis. It does seem like maybe your jaw was forced too wide during the sedation and you got an acute muscle strain because of it. I already had some degree of trismus from the abscess infection in my jaw and I think when I was given the big anaesthetic Injection I was able to open my mouth without pain but because it was already swollen this caused a muscle strain. Or, it was the injection that caused it. They use a very big intramuscular injection to remove back molars and this, I think directly impacts the jaw muscles. I am amazed there is not more information on the net about developing this. I found one forum where some people here in the uk were discussing having trismus after dental work and a few posts on Facebook. But it is very difficult to find information on how long it can last.
    I think I will definitely consult my doctor for physiotherapy if it continues for another week. I really sympathise with what happended to you as it is a very bothersome condition. If I had to gave more dental work they would struggle to do it at the moment.

    • Yes, I definitely suggest you go there. One week I forgot my “homeworks” and the physiotherapy woman noticed it and told me “It’s not going from alone, you need to do these exercises at home”. Yes, maybe wait a week, but if this continues, I definitely would let it check again and maybe physiotherapy then.

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