The diagnosis is actually quite simple. If a pain occurs spontaneously after the jaw has been torn open too far, something has been eaten too firmly, then this is usually a sure sign of a dislocated jaw. With a unilaterally dislocated jaw, the affected side hangs limply down.
If both temporomandibular joints are dislocated at the same time, the affected person can no longer close his mouth. At the latest when palpating, the doctor feels that the temporomandibular joints are not standing properly. Last but not least, an x-ray helps to assess the bony structures.
To rule out other problems and worse, the dentist can make a digital volume tomogram. This involves a three-dimensional x-ray of the temporomandibular joint. The joint disc can be better assessed in this image.
Which doctor is responsible for the treatment?
The first point of contact should be the family doctor or family dentist. There are many dentists who specialize in the temporomandibular joint and the entire jaw system. They also have the skills to set the jaw back in place.
Real specialists call themselves gnathologists. They also examine the exact causes in connection with tooth malpositions or problems in the cervical spine. Depending on where the problem comes from, you will be referred to a physiotherapist or chiropractor. Some of these manual therapists also have specific additional training and work closely with doctors.
What to do with a dislocated jaw?
If the sudden pain in the jaw does not subside, you should always consult a doctor. If you can set yourself, you should do so. If not, you can get instructions from the doctor or practitioner.
Tips for inexperienced patients are: never use force to reocclude the jaw. To set the jaw yourself, place your thumbs on the lower front teeth and hold the jaw firmly. To loosen the head of the joint you have to pull the lower jaw slowly forward and down.
This loosens and relaxes the muscles. Now the little head of the joint can be moved back and forth and slides back into its socket. In order to rule out more serious diseases, you should still go to the doctor for a check-up afterwards. In general, a doctor should be consulted the first time a disease occurs.
Can the jaw itself be put back in place?
Patients who frequently suffer from a dislocated jaw usually know what to do. Some can treat themselves. Others may be inhibited or afraid of the pain, but know who to turn to. If it is the first time it happens, and you have no experience of self-deflection, you should not do it. Once you have received instructions from your doctor or practitioner, and have practiced this several times, nothing stands in the way.