Read below about locking or dislocating jaw, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your locking or dislocating jaw from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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5 Potential Locking or Dislocating Jaw Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Cellulitis

    Facial cellulitis is a skin infection that typically comes from other parts of the face like the mouth or the sinuses and needs antibiotic treatment. Symptoms can be pain, redness, warmth and swelling of the affected area.

    Dependent on severity of infection

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, chills, facial redness, swollen face, face pain
    Symptoms that always occur with cellulitis:
    facial redness, area of skin redness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Cellulitis

    Neck cellulitis is a skin infection that typically comes from other parts of the face like the mouth or the sinuses and needs antibiotic treatment. Symptoms can be pain, redness, warmth and swelling of the affected area.

    Dependent on severity of infection

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    neck redness, trouble swallowing, neck pain, painful neck swelling
    Symptoms that always occur with cellulitis:
    neck redness, area of skin redness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Locking or Dislocating Jaw Checker

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  3. 3.Infected Wisdom Tooth (Pericoronitis)

    Pericoronitis of the 3rd molar is an infection of the gums surrounding the 3rd molar (wisdom tooth). It almost never happens to normal teeth because wisdom teeth take a long time to break the gums (erupt). It's believed that once the wisdom tooth breaks the surface of the gums, the bacteria in the mouth get into the gums at that spot and cause an infection. This is also worsened by food particles that build up in the area.

    Need treatment for it to get better

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    possible wisdom tooth pain, moderate tooth pain, tooth pain that makes chewing difficult, severe tooth pain, mild tooth pain
    Symptoms that always occur with infected wisdom tooth (pericoronitis):
    possible wisdom tooth pain
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  4. 4.Dislocation of the Jaw

    A jaw dislocation is when the bones of the mandible (lower jaw) come unhinged from the bones of the side of the head.

    Good prognosis after putting the jaw back in, but it can become chronic and may require surgery

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    jaw pain from an injury, locking or dislocating jaw
    Symptoms that always occur with dislocation of the jaw:
    jaw pain from an injury
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  5. 5.Gaucher's Disease

    Gaucher's disease is the result of a buildup of certain fatty substances in certain organs, particularly the spleen and liver. This causes these organs to become much larger than normal and can affect their function.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    joint pain, spontaneous bone pain, thigh pain, hip pain that comes and goes, fever
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Locking or Dislocating Jaw

  • Q.Do you hear a ringing or whistling sound no one else hears?
  • Q.Have you been experiencing dizziness?
  • Q.Are you experiencing a headache?
  • Q.Has your dentist or significant other ever told you that you grind your teeth in your sleep?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our locking or dislocating jaw symptom checker to find out more.

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Locking or Dislocating Jaw Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced locking or dislocating jaw have also experienced:

    • 12% Jaw Clicking
    • 12% Jaw Pain
    • 8% Jaw Stiffness
  • People who have experienced locking or dislocating jaw had symptoms persist for:

    • 28% Over a Month
    • 28% Less Than a Week
    • 27% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced locking or dislocating jaw were most often matched with:

    • 13% Infected Wisdom Tooth (Pericoronitis)
    • 1% Cellulitis
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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