Myofascial pain syndrome is a dental condition that causes pain and loss of mobility in the jaw. The syndrome arises from stained muscles in the jaw and mouth that can happen due to trauma, tension, or the trauma of recurrent teeth grinding. Proper treatment from a dentist at a clinic like Gentle Dental Family Care can alleviate pain and discomfort while protecting the teeth from grinding-related damage.
What are the potential treatment options for mysofascial pain syndrome?
Splint or Mouth Guard
While teeth grinding is a symptom of mysofascial pain syndrome, grinding is also one of the common causes. So the first step of treatment usually involves a splint and/or mouth guard that can prevent you from grinding your teeth and further putting strain on your jaw muscles.
What's the difference between a splint and a mouth guard? The two terms are often used interchangeably since both are removable trays that cover the teeth and protect from grinding or biting impact pressure. But the primary difference between the two is that splints can be shorter and only cover the impact surfaces of the teeth while a mouth guard tray will cover the entire tooth surface.
Working with a physical therapist can help you learn to stop clenching your jaw and/or grinding your teeth. There are various ways that a therapist can help you achieve these goals that range from simple stretches to transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation.
Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation involves applying a low-frequency device directly to the pain site. The device can be used several times a day and your therapist might provide you an at-home device to apply the current when pain arises. The device can be discontinued when the other physical therapy options have taught you to sufficiently relax your jaw.
Mild myofascial pain might be treated only with physical therapy since the condition tends to resolve itself over time even untreated. The physical therapy can help manage symptoms until the tension goes away.
Certain lifestyle adjustments can ease myofascial pain. Meditation, light yoga or, tai chi can help reduce overall stress and lessen the tension in your jaw. Frequent exercise can make you tired enough at night that you sleep soundly without teeth grinding.
Hard or crunchy foods should be avoided while you're experiencing symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome. Chewing gum should also be avoided. Don't drink caffeine at all, if possible, but at the very least not late in the day. The caffeine can make it difficult to sleep at night, increasing your risk of teeth grinding.