Management of Jaw Pain
Generally, our teeth are only designed to be in contact for a few minutes per day, whilst we chew. However, clenching/grinding of the teeth, particularly overnight, is a habit affecting many people. This can cause wear on the teeth, and additionally and increase in the size and strength of the masseter muscle, the muscle either side of the jaw. As a result, the forces produced when clenching and grinding can become even larger, hence more chipping/wear of the teeth and pain from overuse of this muscle.
Currently, there is no evidence of any treatment to completely stop this excessive clenching and grinding. We can try to manage symptoms and prevent further tooth wear with a nightguard, however often patients continue to clench and therefore they continue to get muscle pain and enlargement of this muscle. One beneficial treatment option for this is the injection of a muscle relaxant into the masseter muscle. This works by reducing the forces that the muscle can exert- therefore reducing pain experienced and reducing the likelihood of wear or chipping of the teeth.
Over time, with repeated treatments, we also see the size of the muscle reduce, resulting in a face slimming effect for many patients. It can also help stop headaches that are often a result of the clenching or grinding.
Sophie is well-trained in providing masseter-relaxing injections and offers a free consultation to discuss this in more detail.