This occurs when the jaw joint pops out of it's socket and becomes stuck. The patient has to physically move the joint back into the socket which can be painful and distressing. A milder version of this is known as "subluxation" when the jaw becomes locked open but the can be sponteneously repositioned.
Patients with recurrent dislocation often have had one or more visits to the Emergency Department where the jaw has to be repositioned by medical personell.
This episodes can occur frequently with some patients reporting this on a daily basis.
Some causes include previous trauma, systemic diseases such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or neurological illness. In other cases the casue is not known.
Diagnosis often depends upon history. Patients will obviously not want to demonstrate this at their consultation but previous episodes and symptoms will be quite distinct.
Non-surgical treatment have very low success rates. Most cases of recurrent dislocation will benefit from a minimally invasive arthroscopic procedure.