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Dental and Oral Health Center

Sudden uncontrollable jaw movement

03/08/2008

Question:

My dad has been suffering from uncontrolled jaw movement and speech problems. This just happened all of a sudden almost 2 years ago and we`ve been to specialist after specialist. His dentist took a sudden interest in finding out the problem and treatment, but so far, nothing. He gets so frustrated and it`s sad to watch him this way and he tries to avoid people because it`s a chore just for him to speak. He gets exhausted from wrestling his jaw and there is no relief. His dentist video taped him speaking to study this, but it is unheard of. We have no idea what started this, nor do any of the doctors. Do you have any suggestions of what this might be and/or what else can be done in determining a diagnosis?

Answer:

It is unlikely that there is a dental-related cause to this condition. With its sudden onset, it is possible that there was some type of neurological damage or change. We see dramatic sudden changes (not the ones you have described) in stroke patients and other patients that have some type of medical incident. It would appear that it is of neurological changes and thus would fall under a specialist in the area of neurology.

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Response by:

D Stanley Sharples, DDS
Clinical Assistant Professor of Primary Care Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University