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An acute TMJ open lock occurs when your jaw locks in an open position and you are unable to close it. This often happens after a person has had a jaw that makes clicking or popping sounds for a while but that is not always the case. A case of an acute TMJ open lock mostly occurs without warning.

It can be a scary situation to have your jaw lock open. Here are the important steps to follow:

  •  Remain as calm as possible while this is occurring.
  •  Call your dentist to check if he or she is comfortable performing the procedure to reduce the jaw opening.
  •  If your dentist is not comfortable doing this, please call our office for help. If you remain calm, it is often possible to have your jaw closed within 15 minutes.

To help reduce the likelihood of this happening in the future, proper long-term care may be needed.

Changes to the ligaments that provide stability to the TMJ can cause your jaw to lock open. The hard and soft tissue holding the TMJ may have become more slack than normal. As a result, the TMJ slipped too far forward and got stuck in front of a boney articular eminence. This means that the condyle cannot recoil backward to its normal position as a resting spot. This set of circumstances often gets worse over time.