Oral Dystonia

Uncontrolled movements of the lower jaw or tongue characterize this disorder. It will often occur as a rhythmic uncontrolled tapping of the teeth during the awake state. Pain is often associated with it, due to the muscle tightness from continuous muscle contractions. Due to the jaw muscle pain, dystonia is frequently misdiagnosed as a TMJ disorder.

This disorder can be painful and very debilitating due to its effects on talking, eating and appearance. There seems to be a greater incidence following head trauma and with a family history of essential tremor. The use of some anti-psychotic medications can cause Dystonia or Dyskinesia like symptoms. Akathisia may also result from the use of some SSRI medications.

Dr. Pehling has found Botulinum toxin therapy to be the only effective treatment for this disorder. The precise etiology of how the trigeminal motor nerve is affected is not completely understood. Oral Mandibular Dystonia is similar to cervical dystonia or blepharospasms and can happen concurrently.