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What causes jaw contraction & How to relieve tight jaw & tension? Dentapolitan Oral and Dental Health Hospitals in Turkey, Istanbul

What causes jaw contraction & How to relieve tension?

Jaw contraction while yawning

Jaw clenching can be caused by many different conditions. Jaw contraction while yawning occurs due to excessive strain on the jaw muscles.

What causes jaw contraction?

Jaw muscle stiffness is a problem experienced by many individuals. Jaw muscle stiffness usually occurs due to excessive contraction of the jaw muscles for various reasons. Apart from this, inflammation can also cause jaw muscle stiffness.

Causes, symptoms and treatment of jaw muscle stiffness

Causes of jaw muscle stiffness

If the jaw muscles are overstretched or there is inflammation in the area, jaw muscle stiffness may occur. Causes of jaw contraction:

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism):

Teeth grinding during sleep, which harms oral and dental health, must be treated. Generally, the individual's inability to cope with the problems he/she is experiencing, his/her inability to manage his/her stress, and excessive anxiety cause him to clench and grind his teeth at night. As teeth grinding becomes more severe, jaw muscle tension increases and can cause jaw stiffness along with pain. Bruxism, which impairs the general health of the teeth and causes jaw pain in the morning in the individual, can be treated with several different methods as a result of examination by dentists.

Cold Weather or Wind Effect:

In extreme cold and windy weather, the mouth and jaw muscles contract, which may cause jaw stiffness. Dental Problems: Biting problems may occur in individuals with oral and dental health problems. Decayed teeth can cause malbiting problems when chewing when closing the jaw. Incorrect biting and chewing can also cause jaw muscle stiffness. Muscle stiffness in the jaw might result from inflammation in the jaw region.


Jaw contractions can be brought on by tumours in the head and neck region.

Symptoms of jaw muscle stiffness

Jaw contraction symptoms are observed in and around the jaw:

  • Pain in and around the jaw,
  • Difficulty and limitation in jaw movements,
  • Headaches,
  • Earache,
  • Experiencing conscious and unconscious teeth clenching even during the day,
  • Being told that you grind your teeth while sleeping and not being able to use your jaw muscle enough are among the symptoms of jaw muscle stiffness.

Jaw contraction while yawning

If the individual opens his mouth more than necessary while yawning, he may not be able to close his mouth, causing the lower jaw joint to become displaced. In this case, it would be advisable to contact a dentist. Once the dentist puts the jaw joint into place, the individual can close his mouth. The dentist may prescribe medication in some cases. Rarely, a surgical procedure could be necessary. To avoid jaw contraction problems when yawning, the jaw should be opened in a controlled manner.

What causes jaw contraction when yawning?

Jaw contraction while yawning occurs as a result of the jaw muscle contracting for movement and contracting again without relaxing. The mouth should not be opened too much when yawning.

How is Jaw Muscle Stiffness Treated?

Night plate or some injection treatments applied to the jaw muscle are effective for jaw stiffness caused by teeth grinding (bruxism).

In case of jaw stiffness, physical treatments are applied to reduce the tension of the jaw muscles. Jaw muscles are strengthened by performing jaw exercises during physical therapy sessions. Restoring the flexibility of the muscles is one of the treatments for jaw muscle stiffness.

If the cause of jaw stiffness is unhealthy teeth that cause chewing problems, the dental treatments that the patient needs should include root canal treatment, crown treatment, and implant treatment.

What is good for jaw contraction?

  • One effective way to release tension in the jaw muscles is to apply heat to the stiff jaw muscle. If there is inflammation in the jaw area, cold application should be applied.
  • Using painkillers recommended by your dentist may be good for jaw contraction.
  • If chewing problems caused by tooth decay cause jaw contraction, it is good to complete dental treatments immediately.
  • If jaw muscle stiffness is caused by clenching the teeth due to stress or anxiety, then the individual must learn stress management.
  • If teeth grinding causes jaw stiffness, consulting our dentists and getting treatment for bruxism is good for stiffness.

How to get rid of jaw muscle stiffness?

Heat application may be beneficial for jaw muscle stiffness, allowing the muscles to relax. If there is inflammation, applying cold compresses is helpful. The use of painkillers can relieve jaw pain.

These three methods do not provide treatment; they only increase the comfort of the individual. You can learn about the condition that causes jaw muscle stiffness as a result of an examination by a dentist who specializes in oral and maxillofacial surgery. After this, your dentist can perform dental treatment and recommend physical treatment.

How to relieve jaw stiffness at home?

Sit at a table to stretch your jaw muscles. Lean one of your elbows on the table and grasp your forehead with your hand. As much as possible, open your mouth. Support your chin with your other hand to open your mouth a little more. Do the chin-down movement for 5-10 seconds. After five to ten seconds of rest, repeat the same motion ten times. Before starting treatment for jaw contraction at home, the cause of the contraction must be determined by the dentist and the treatment plan must be made accordingly.

What causes jaw locking?

  • Stress,
  • Grinding teeth while sleeping,
  • Always using the same direction while chewing,
  • Habit of biting objects such as pencils,
  • Chewing gum continuously in the same direction for a long time,
  • Development of a tumour in the head and neck region,
  • Biting and chewing problems due to tooth decay,
  • Inflammation in the jaw area may cause jaw locking (trimus).

What is good for jaw locking?

If jaw locking occurs due to inflammation, cold compresses should be applied and the medications recommended by your dentist should be used correctly.

If the cause of jaw locking is muscle spasm, applying a warm compress is beneficial. Doing the recommended jaw exercises regularly is also good for jaw locking.