Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > TMJ Forum

Jaw locked every morning

I just joined ehealth so here's my story:

I was 21 and I was sleeping over at my cousin's house in a sleeping bag on the hardwood floor. I was sleeping on my side so when I woke up, I realized I couldn't open my jaw. I could only open it about an inch. About an 20 mins later, it worked itself out and I was able to use my jaw normally. This was the first incident of this happening. The next time this happened was approx 8 months later when I woke up one day (on my bed) and again, could only open my mouth a bit. An hour later, it worked itself out again. Since then, it started happening more and more frequently and each episode would last longer. I was 23 when this happened again (probably the 5th or 6th time since the first time) and I wasn't able to fully open my jaw for 2 weeks straight until I popped it open manually. But as you would've guessed, I had another episode shortly after that has lasted almost 2 years until this day (I'm 25).

So this is what I get. Each morning when I wake up, my jaw is locked closed only on my left side and I can only open it about 1 inch. What I do is that I move my lower jaw forward and then open my mouth. I only use my jaw muscles to open my mouth, no hands or anything. When I do this I hear a loud pop sound inside my head. To an outsider, it sounds like knocking your knuckle against a wooden desk. This pop causes my jaw to unlock. Once my jaw is popped open, I try not to close my jaw tight so I keep it slightly open for 30 mins or so. After that, I can use my jaw regularly for the rest of the day until the next morning. Then I repeat this cycle. I've been doing this for the past 2 years. During the daytime, I can eat normal foods and use my jaw normally. But after 2 years, I can sense that my left side is "weaker" than my right side. Sometimes when I chew, I'm afraid my left jaw might catch and lock itself (hasn't happened yet) so I try to chew on my stronger right jaw.

I've seen an oral specialist before, and he said there's not much he can do because I experience no pain at all (thank goodness). So it is a moderate inconvenience at the moment. I am nearing the end of my orthodontic treatment to correct my bite. Even though my teeth are pretty much aligned now, I am still experiencing this problem.

So I'm wondering if I should still see more doctors to get this treated. I have no pain, no headaches, no ear ringing, just the annoyance of popping my jaw open every morning. But I am afraid that continually doing this will do damage to my TMJ or maybe wear it out.
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replied January 21st, 2009
jaw lock
your discs are likely dislocating. seek a consultation with a dentist who can do a neuromuscular work-up. he can refer you to other professionals and together you may be able to get this problem under control
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replied July 29th, 2010
locked jaw
Just found your post. I'm experiencing the same thing with my jaw locking every morning for a few hours! I realize you posted over a year ago, but did you get the problem fixed? What did you have to do? Thanks, janice
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replied September 29th, 2010
lock jawww
i get that and am 17 its horrible...but i experiance pain with mine help?!
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replied August 10th, 2014
When it hurts, get ibroprofen and a warm flannel and rest it on the painful jaw, this helped with mine, so it should soothe the pain, I also recommend deep heat or warm extracts this will relax the muscles and should make the jaw stop hurting, and doing this every time it hurts, will help you to gradually get strength back of your stubborn jaw taking over! There isn't much a doctor or dentist can do but recommend surgery, but if you can try to solve this yourself this will be less painful and much better.
So remember
-ibroprofen
-Warmness
-Don't overuse your jaw.
-Don't' click it
-Don't chew gum or chewy stuff!
-if it gets really bad, then consider visiting the doctor
(:
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replied November 2nd, 2010
I'm 15 and I get it as well, sometimes mine will go for a few weeks at a time but usually in my sleep it goes back. They obviously call this TMJ, I guess I really don't know but what I know helps from my experience is try to relax and not get too worked up over it then just watch your favorite movie drink a shake and like talk to your girlfriend do normal everyday things to try and relax yourself, (without using your jaw too much lol) then I bought this lavender stuff thats like a heat pad which can also help. Lastly there is a few websites that offer some tips on how to loosen it watch the video's it helps... Mine went out this morning kinda freaky isn't it dude?
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replied November 10th, 2010
I had the same thing and had lots of surgeries and complications. Seek a good oral/maxillofacial surgeon. Start with less intervention like bite splint, heat, chiropractic or acupuncture therapies. Ask a lot of questions before you consider surgery.
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replied November 17th, 2010
Experienced User
heyscoobie wrote:
Oral surgeons are IMO not the persons to see. Look up a TMJ dentist from the AACFP.org website in your area.
Most oral surgeons dont treat TMJ disorders. They are not necessarily the experts.

in the not so distant past, your only referral would be to see an O.S. however general dentist with advanced training took this role on.

all i can say is see a dentist specialist, not an oral surgeon unless they have advanced training or crendetials with TMJ organizations.

google "TMJ academies" and look up a member nearest you. best to star on the right foot.


I know I get a lot of referrals from the local oral surgeons, so it may not be a bad place to start. At least , if they're worth their salt, they will know who does TMD treatments. I just worry if you go to an OS and they recommend surgery BEFORE there is a chance for a TMJ dentist to treat / manage conservatively.
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replied April 1st, 2011
12 here. I've been sick recently, but every morning I hear popping when I wake up.

I'll be eating lunch and my jaw will pop to where I can only open it about an inch on one side. Anddddd that's not fun when I'm trying to eat.
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replied October 6th, 2011
TMJ any help for me please!:(*
omgee i have this excact same problem and when i went to my dentist he diagnosed it as tmj and then he took a look at my wisdom teeth and he siad that might be the problem so i wnet and got them removed but to find out that in a few days the left side of my jaw went back to feeling like its going to lock,im 17 years old and still are going thriugh this problem idk wht to do and it hurts everytime i eat something espicially burgers or sandwiches plese help
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replied July 3rd, 2012
I'm 27 and just woke up with my jaw locked this morning, sounds a lot like what some of you guys have gone through. I'm thankful I can still open it a little bit, enough to eat small bites. It's almost as if the left side of my jaw is swollen, I can open my mouth wider every few minutes when I'm not thinking about it but then when closed again its locked again. VERY bizarre and ANNOYING, I guess I should feel thankful it isn't painful; I have started taking Benadryl lately due to seasonal allergies but I don't understand how that could be causing this, I'm trying to figure out the cause so if and when it goes away I'll know what to do.
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replied July 26th, 2012
I've had this for the last week. It hurts but its starting to give a ear ache aswell. It started a couple days before my operation last week, and I just thought that it was just to due to stressing out about the operation and therefore I was clenching my jaw to tight in my sleep. But it was obviously wasn't stress. Help.
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replied July 26th, 2012
I've had this for the last week. It hurts but its starting to give a ear ache aswell. It started a couple days before my operation last week, and I just thought that it was just to due to stressing out about the operation and therefore I was clenching my jaw to tight in my sleep. But it was obviously wasn't stress. Help.
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replied September 18th, 2012
i m too having same problem but it is reducing day by day......i think it caused by bad sleeping position.....jaw is connected with back of our head....when we r watching tv or laptops taking support of back head with chair or wall or bed rack back head muscles r affected.....so i just took precaution to avoid those positions and now m feeling well....please avoid giving to much stress at jaw otherwise it could be swelled....u will be normal if u do some precaution for few days and sleep properly....thanks
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replied July 13th, 2013
I'm 17 and I once had this for sleeping on a plane with my jaw cocked funny for several months! My mom said she once had it for maybe a year then it went away and only happens for a little while and not very often. I've found that it only happens when my jaw has been pushed to one side for a long time. To fix it temporarily, I've been pushing on the joint on the side it is locked then opening my mouth. It doesn't pop very loudly when I do this. I'm pretty sure my jaw is just getting popped out of its socket every once in a while.
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replied August 8th, 2013
I, too is experiencing that and iam looking for remedies. every morning and every time I eat, I have this popping of jaws. and its freeking me out thinking that it might give me more complications in the future. help pleaseeeeee
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replied August 13th, 2013
I am 14 years old and I have been getting lock jaw every day for about a month. I have an over-bite and that might be the problem. If I'm lucky, all that happens is a pop and I'm done. If I'm not, I spend about 5 minutes trying to get my jaw to go back to normal. I am going to see a dentist soon. (I hate the dentist, but I need this treated.) I need help, I'm afraid to sleep now because of this. I need someone to treat my jaw so it doesn't give me complications in the future. I'm pretty sure though that wisdom teeth only hurt you, grow weird, give you eating complications, or they don't do anything at all. I think that it has to do with if the jaw is side ways, or if your teeth are placed a certain way. I don't know.
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replied August 10th, 2014
My jaw locks in the morning and it's easy to pop back into place, it doesn't really hurt it's just very discomforting, it started at school when I was bored and I just used to crack my jaw but I regret doing it now because since that day, it's been worsening and led to this. It locks lightly but in the morning it locks about 5 times! Also when I eat chewing gym, my jaw cracks sooo much!! So I just recommend don't overuse your jaw!
For example...
-Don't chew gum until the condition decreases.
-When yawning try not to open your mouth too wide, because it may lock.
-Once the jaw has locked, get a flannel with hot water in it and put it on the jaw, this will soothe the pain.
-if it gets really really bad, then see a dentist or doctor, just try not to scare yourself too much on the internet, I did that..
-I'm highly afraid of hospitals, doctors, dentist.. Ect.
-so I'm hoping my condition decreases as time passes by.
-I also a, afraid of going to sleep at night to experience the traumatic jaw locks coming for me in the morning..
My reply is late.. I know but my jaw locking condition has only just begun!!
-Also one more tip..
-when you feel pain, get an ibroprofen down you and get that hot water bottle or flannel..
Thanks x
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