Limited Opening

(CLosed Locked Jaw)

John R Droter DDS
Facial Pain Diagnosis
TMJ Rehabilitation

Not being able to move your jaw is a medical emergency!

If you are not able to open your jaw all the way, you need to seek treatment NOW.

After 4 weeks of not opening your jaw, you have lost 50% of the height of the cartilage. This is still reversible after 4 weeks.

After 8 weeks, there is permeant damage to the cartilage. This will progressively get worse over the next 6 months, leading to a completely fibrosed joint.

From the time your jaw becomes locked (stuck), you have 4-6 weeks to get it moving again if you want to maintain healthy cartilage. The first 4 weeks are critical. You need to be sure you are with a doctor who understands the urgency of the situation.

Normal opening is 40-65mm, with 45 mm being average. This is equal to 3 finger widths.

If you are only opening 1 finger width, 20-30mm, permanent damage will occur to the TMJ after 8 weeks.

If you take a perfectly health joint and do not move it for 8 weeks, the joint will sustain permanent damage.

Eminence Healthy Cartilage

Arthroscopic view of cartilage in the TMJ

Eminence (Fossa)

Eminence Damaged Cartilage

Eminence Damaged Cartilage

Arthroscopic View of TM joint not moving for 6 months

Adhesion (Scar Tissue)