Dislocated jaw


The lower jaw is connected to the skull by a joint. Just like any other joint, it can “dislocate”. The bony connection between the lower jaw and the base of the skull is then completely missing.

The joint is only stabilized by the muscles and ligaments. The consequence of this is that the mouth can no longer be closed. This is called a lockjaw.

Depending on what the cause of the dislocation is, it also occurs more frequently. The exact technical term is habitual dislocation. The joint head should actually slide in its socket. Here, however, it slips out, but no longer slides in by itself. It is prevented from doing so by the joint protrusion.


If the jaw is extremely open, the joint head slides forward in the joint socket. If the opening is exaggerated, it slips even further forward and jumps out of the socket. This often happens when yawning, or when biting off a large bite.

It can even occur during dental treatment, where you have to open your mouth as wide as possible for a long time. However, the joints can also be torn from their usual position by external factors. For example, in an accident, or a firm fist blow to the lower face.

Factors that favor the jumping out are stress, psychological problems, loosened ligaments, cramped muscles and much more. Especially in patients with Chronic Mandibular Dysfunction (CMD). CMD is a disease of the masticatory system involving the temporomandibular joints, the associated muscles, ligaments and surrounding structures. When under stress or psychological strain, the muscles are often cramped and lead the jaw into unusual and unwanted positions.

Associated symptoms

One symptom that can be seen from the outside is that the lower jaw is too far forward, as with a pre-bite. This means that the rows of teeth can no longer be brought together properly. An accompanying symptom of this is that the mouth is no longer closed properly.

As compensation, the body starts to produce more saliva. It can be noticeable that it is difficult to speak because there is more saliva in the mouth and the jaw is standing differently. It is not uncommon for headaches and earaches to occur in addition.

This is due to the fact that jaw, neck and head muscles are closely connected. For example, if the mouth is opened very wide, muscles that are also responsible for the ear are used. When it comes to pain, other symptoms are also listed.

Pain is a definite companion for dislocated jaw joints. However, pain is more likely to occur when the lower jaw is moved. It is only when the bones rub against each other when trying to make a movement, or when ligaments and muscles are moved in the wrong direction that it hurts.

If the jaw is kept still, which is of course unfamiliar and uncomfortable in the new position, the pain can be relieved. In principle, the muscles and ligaments also hurt on their own. On the one hand, because the muscles are usually tense, and on the other hand, because the muscles and ligaments are stretched and overstretched in one direction. Many patients therefore complain of pain after the adjustment. In addition, in the days following the operation, you feel a kind of muscle ache.