Trismus/Jaw Motion Rehabilitation
Trismus is a term used to describe limited mouth opening. There are a number of causes for this condition, such as trauma, surgery, and stroke, but most often it is caused by radiation.
EFFECTS OF TRISMUS
Limited mouth opening can affect:
Chewing and/or swallowing
Pain, inflammation and degenerative joint changes are secondary effects of trismus. Early intervention is essential to minimize the effects of trismus.
EVALUATION OF TRISMUS
Evaluation includes a thorough case history, a comprehensive oral examination, a clinical evaluation of swallowing, and a careful assessment of pain. Results of the evaluation are reviewed with the patient and treatment objectives are discussed.
TREATMENT OF TRISMUS
Treatment objectives include:
Stretching connective tissue
Strengthening muscles that have weakened
Mobilizing the joint
Reducing pain and inflammation
Manual mobilization can have some positive effect on mouth opening, however, passive motion has been demonstrated to be more effective and can be achieved using a commercially available device. This device gradually increases mouth opening at a rate that is dependent on the patient's tolerance. The patient is trained how to use the device and an independent home program is prescribed. Progress is monitored and a maintenance program is established when goals have been achieved.