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What are the Common Causes of Lockjaw?

How does someone get Lockjaw?

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Lockjaw is often used to describe the inability to mobilize the lower jaw or restrictions from opening the mouth due to any problems in the jaw. Oftentimes, the facial nerve is affected or the facial muscles. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder often causes lockjaw. Even simple tonsillitis that was not treated may lead to this problem. The two common causes of lockjaw are Tetanus and Trismus. Both are fatal and may lead to death if not treated promptly.

Tetanus - Tetanus infection is caused by bacterium that is commonly found in the soil, the Clostridium tetani. Tetanus infection is one of the leading causes of death among newborns in developing countries wherein vaccines against Tetanus were not routinely administered in hospitals and health centers.

Tetanus is very lethal since it affects the nervous system. It sends contraction signals in the body including the jaw, lower back, and limbs. Common signs of tetanus infection are lockjaw since it immobilizes the body and paralyzes the muscles making it very painful and almost impossible to move the jaw. Not only are the facial muscles are affected but also the other parts of the body such as the lower back.

Nowadays, health programs in different countries often include vaccination against this fatal disease. Prevention and early intervention are readily available. Sanitation plays a great role in reducing the risk of having a tetanus.

Trismus - Trismus is the common term used for lockjaw or inability of one person to mobilize his or her mouth due to some illness, trauma, or infections. Different types of infection may cause trismus once the facial nerve or muscles are being affected that would prohibit one person to move his or her mouth freely. There are other cases wherein trismus is curable depending on the nature of the diseases causing it. Oftentimes, infection in the jaw causes trismus if left untreated.

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