Orofacial pain is a general term that refers to pain felt in and around the face, mouth, jaw, head, and neck. Since orofacial pain involves a complex interaction of factors, experts need training in the medical and dental aspects of the disease.
Silverlake Smiles provides diagnosis, treatment, and management of pain disorders for patients suffering from orofacial pain and discomfort. We serve the Silverlake neighborhood and the surrounding areas of Los Feliz, Atwater Village, Frogtown, and Echo Park.
The orofacial pain specialty brings dentistry and medicine together in health care. However, most orofacial pains stem from dental issues, including dental abscesses or infections. Another common cause of orofacial pain is dysfunction of the TMJ (temporomandibular muscle and joint).
TMJ can cause limited movement and pain in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. Everyone has two jaw joints—one on either side of the face connecting the skull to the lower jaw or mandible. When muscles and joints cannot work in harmony, joint inflammation and muscle spasms can produce pain and dysfunction.
Common symptoms of TMJ and orofacial pain include:
- Pain in the face and jaw
- Head and neck pain
- Pain when yawning or chewing crunchy or hard foods
- Abnormal wear to the teeth
- Restricted or limited opening of the jaw
- Face or jaw ache upon waking, with teeth sensitivity or tightness
- Teeth grinding or clenching associated with sleep problems
A common cause of orofacial pain in children and adults is a misaligned jaw. This misalignment happens when the upper and lower teeth don’t line up correctly. A misaligned jaw can give rise to dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint. In extreme cases, jaw misalignment can lock the jaw open or closed.
Orofacial pain experts can treat orofacial pain caused by TMJ disorders in several ways. Depending on the type and extent of jaw misalignment, they may prescribe a customized mandibular advancement splint. In severe cases, the patient may require orofacial, orthodontic, or dental treatment.
Botox Treatment for Orofacial Pain/Clenching
While Botox gained popularity for its anti-aging and anti-wrinkle properties, it also has several dental applications. For patients with orofacial pain caused by clenching or teeth grinding and TMJ disorder, Botox works effectively as an alternative treatment to relieve associated symptoms.
The treatment involves a series of Botox injections into the facial muscles afflicted with pain and discomfort. The injections weaken the muscle and relieve jaw pain and tension without affecting talking, chewing, and eating. Botox treatments also help minimize lockjaw resulting from severe stress and eliminate headaches and pain caused by teeth grinding.
Botox treatments take up to half an hour, have no downtime, and patients can notice results within a day or two following treatment. A patient can determine if they’re suitable for Botox after a dentist reviews their medical history.
If you or a loved one have experienced orofacial pain or discomfort, call Silverlake Smiles at (213) 631-7799 to schedule an appointment today. Our team can diagnose your pain and create a custom treatment plan to reduce or eliminate orofacial pain.