Pain Relief and Laser Treatments

Treatment of Masticatory Muscle Pain

Pain and dysfunction in the masticatory system, or TMD (temporomandibular disorders), refer to pain and functional disorders in the jaw joints, masticatory muscles, teeth, and closely related tissues, as well as bruxism (teeth grinding). Common symptoms include pain in the jaw joints or masticatory muscles, jaw joint sounds, fatigue and stiffness of the jaws, limited mouth opening, and mandibular movement disorders. Headaches, facial pain, and ear pain can also be typical symptoms.

Pain and dysfunction of the masticatory system are common, being the second most common reason for seeking treatment in the mouth and face area after toothache. Estimates suggest that up to 7-9% of Finns need treatment for the masticatory system.

Treatments we use for disorders of the masticatory organs and resulting pain include:

  • –  Provision of an occlusal splint

  • –  Massage of the masticatory muscles

  • –  Laser therapy

  • –  Botulinum toxin injection therapy into the masticatory muscles

  • –  Patient guidance and provision of self-care instructions

    Muscles in the cheeks, mouth, lower jaw, and temple area, which are part of the masticatory muscles, can become painful due to dysfunction in the masticatory system. We aim to reduce these pain conditions with an occlusal splint made by a dental technician. The occlusal splint, made of clear, mouth-adaptable plastic, is custom-made for each individual and is generally used at night. It protects the teeth from wear and reduces the use of masticatory muscles, relaxing them.

    Massage therapy performed by a dental hygienist can also be helpful for many. Massage improves skin and muscle blood circulation and warmth. It also helps with relaxation, thereby reducing muscle stiffness. The massage can be enhanced with laser therapy, which is based on heat. The heat increases blood circulation in the masticatory muscles and jaw joint area, opens small blood vessels, enhances muscle relaxation, tissue elasticity and extensibility, and improves metabolism. (Read more about laser therapy below).

    Botox, or botulinum toxin injection therapy into the masticatory muscles, is often the last treatment tried for bruxism or teeth grinding. Botulinum toxin injection therapy can sometimes cause confusion, as it is easily associated with fillers, although in reality, it has little in common with them. Botulinum toxin A prevents the transmission of messages at the neuromuscular junction, inhibiting the action of overactive muscles in grinding. In some

cases, botulinum toxin injection therapy can be of great help, and for the worst grinders, the treatment can even narrow their face as the over-tensed muscles relax. The treatment needs to be repeated approximately every 2-3 months and its effect starts within 2-5 days of the procedure.

If you suffer from pain and/or dysfunction in the masticatory system, book an appointment for a gnathological visit, where our dentist will examine your bite, muscles, and joints, and recommend the most suitable treatment method for you.

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tel. 010 339 0777

Laser Therapy

Dysfunction of the masticatory system causes tenderness and pain in the masticatory muscles and jaw joints. The disorder is common, and many suffer from pain caused by this dysfunction. Often, pain and discomfort can be alleviated using Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT).

In dentistry, LLLT or low-level laser therapy has been found to accelerate wound healing and relieve pain. The laser stimulates oxidative phosphorylation in cell mitochondria and alters the inflammatory cell response. LLLT causes biostimulative reactions in several cell types, affecting their metabolism and increasing their regenerative capacity and responsiveness to stimuli.

What is the laser used for?

Diode laser therapy can relax muscles and alleviate various types of muscle and joint pain, stiffness, and muscle cramps throughout the body. Therefore, it can be used to treat myofascial pain and dysfunction of the masticatory system.

Laser treatment is also given for various neuropathic pain conditions, such as treatment of allodynic pain. Diode lasers are also used in other dental procedures, such as periodontal treatment, where the laser light not only relieves pain but also has a bactericidal effect on the gum pockets and improves the regenerative ability of the gum tissue. LLLT lasers are also used in root canal treatments. Root canal disinfection is performed with a Diode laser.

In minor surgical procedures, the Diode laser is a familiar tool. Wound healing is painless, faster, and bleeding is very minimal.

A well-known use of the laser is teeth whitening. Whitening gel applied to the outer surfaces of the teeth can be activated with laser light. The effectiveness of lasers is based on their production of coherent light, where the wavelength of their light is very precise and the wavelength band is very narrow, i.e., the light waves vibrate in phase. Laser light can be continuous or pulsed wave. Diode laser appears as red light. Lasers using wavelengths of 810-980 nm produce light in the near-infrared range and thus induce a thermal excitation process of hydrogen peroxide, producing hydroxyl radicals in dentin and lightening color molecules in tooth bone without raising the temperature of the dental pulp.

At Ogadent, we use the Biolase diode laser, which is used versatilely for various indications.

Want to know more?

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