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Face and Jaw Surgery

My Wife Yawned & Now Can`t Close Jaw Properly



This morning before getting out of bed, my wife yawned and her jaw somehow got misaligned. She can`t close her jaw completly (left side). I wonder if her ice eating habbit has anything to do with this (which she`s been doing on a daily basis for the past year or so). Now she`s in pain with her jaw and a headache. Please help us understand and guide us in the right direction. Thank you!


From the history you provided it appears your wife may have either of the two causes:

1. Dislocation of her jaw 

2. Displacement of the left joint disc; it could be displaced posteriorly and is not reducing.

In the first scenario, she should be able to manipulate her jaw and reduce it. If not, she needs to visit the ER for the jaw to be manipulated back into position.

I believe the it is most likely due to the second cause, i.e., the displacement of her joint disc backwards, preventing the jaw from moving back completely into its position. The tempromandibular joint ( jaw joint) has a disc between the lower jaw bone and the side of the skull bone it articulates with. This joint acts as a shock absorber and usually moves with the lower jaw on opening and closing. This disc can get trapped or displaced when the mouth is opened very wide, when there is injury or force to the jaw, and sometimes due to excessively hard food. Most of the time the disc reduces back into its position and does not require any treatment other than soft food and pain medicines, as needed. 

If you wife's problem still presists, she needs to see an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon so that she could be examined and appropriate radiographs or scans can be obtained.



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Response by:

Likith V Reddy, MD, DDS, FACS Likith V Reddy, MD, DDS, FACS
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati