Wooden clothespins make good alternatives for treating patients who have difficulty opening their mouths fully when other devices, including stacked tongue depressors are not available, the authors wrote.
"This is a simple, very economical method that do not damage the teeth," wrote the authors, led by Dr. Jose Del Castillo Pardo de Vera, PhD, of La Paz University in Spain.
Trismus, a painful condition often referred to as lockjaw, can affect chewing, swallowing, and breathing. It's a common occurrence in those who have experienced trauma, inflammatory disease, tumor or orthognathic surgery, and infection.
Though a temporomandibular joint exerciser is an effective, convenient, and inexpensive device for improving trismus, they are not always available, and an alternative is necessary, according to the note.
To help those with trismus, clinicians should have a patient place the active end of the clothespin in their mouth while pressing the other end, which helps fully open the mouth. When two clothespins are fastened together, a patient's mouth opening can reach nearly 5 cm. Another benefit of this method is that clothespins can be used unilaterally or bilaterally, the authors wrote.
However, the authors caution that clothespins are not medical products that comply with medical device agency regulations.
"All patients are informed of this despite the good results found in patients over the years and without any injury having occurred during its use," the authors wrote.
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