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Jaw Dystonia & Bruxism

Jaw dystonia presents usually with chewing or speaking difficulties and is also named oro-mandibular dystonia. Two types can be distinguished, either an opening jaw dystonia with severe difficulty for the patient to keep his mouth closed and chew, or a closing jaw dystonia with clenched teeth, and biting of the tongue or the internal aspect of the cheeks.

There can be an involuntary protrusion of the tongue, or the tip of the tongue going forcefully to the top of the palate. The patient finds some relief by keeping a chewing gum or a sweet inside their mouth. When it’s associated with blepharospasm, it is called Meige syndrome (after the neurologist Henry Meige who described the condition in 1910). The age of onset is around 60.


Botulinum toxin injections in the jaw muscles are the most efficient treatment of this condition. The injections are performed under electromyographic guidance and have to be repeated every 3 to 4 months. Tongue protrusion responds also to BTX injections.  Bruxism is a diurnal or nocturnal activity that consists of clenching, grinding and bracing of the teeth. Injections of the lateral pterygoid muscles can control bruxism, alleviate pain in the temporo-mandibular joint, and protect the teeth.

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