Possible Relationship Between Facial Pain and Antidepressant Drugs

Facial Pain and TMJ | Surgical Arts Centre

There are many possible sources of facial pain 

Facial pain is one of the common complaints that lead patients to seek care from the doctors of the Surgical Arts Centre. Such pain can arise from a host of sources, including teeth, trauma, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, neuropathic pain, and muscular pain, among others. Masticatory Myofascial Pain is among the common sources of facial pain and is thought to arise from the abnormal contraction of the muscles used in mastication (chewing).

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is defined as an abnormal clenching or grinding of the teeth. This most frequently is displayed while sleeping and in this instance is referred to as sleep bruxism. There are two general categories of bruxism;
  • Primary Bruxism is experienced by between 4.4 and 8 percent of adults. Thought to be caused by activation of the sympathetic nervous system which activates the cortical area of the brain, this health issue results in the contraction of the muscles used to close the mouth.
  • Secondary Bruxism is clenching and grinding of the teeth caused by stimulation from an external source, such as a medication.

The Relationship Between Bruxism and Facial Pain

Although the relationship between the two is controversial, Masticatory Myofascial Pain arising in the muscles in the face is frequently seen in association with bruxism, and many practitioners believe bruxism is a direct cause of this painful problem.

Relationship Between Antidepressant Drugs and Bruxism

The most common types of antidepressant drugs prescribed in the U.S. are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s), and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI’s) Examples of commonly used drugs in these categories include Sertraline, Fluoxitine, Paroxitine, Citalopram, Duloxetine, and Venlafaxine. Research has suggested a relationship between these drugs and onset of sleep bruxism in some individuals.

Conclusions and Recommendations

It is very important that patients taking antidepressant medications not alter their drug regimen without the guidance of the prescribing physician. Doing so could be catastrophic. Options your physician may consider to manage possible side effects of these medications include:
  • Substitution of alternative medications.
  • Addition of other medications to relieve the symptoms.
  • An adjustment of dosage.

For More Information

The team of doctors of the Surgical Arts Centre has many years of experience in the management of facial pain. For more information or to schedule an appointment call (406) 549-6600.
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