It is estimated 30 to 40 million Americans experience bruxism, also known as teeth grinding. Some people find that they grind their teeth when they’re nervous and others may grind them unknowingly in the night. No matter when you experience this habit, it can be detrimental to the well-being of your teeth over time as grinding wears down enamel, causes jaw pain and headaches, and can even result in chipped teeth! For many years, the best treatment for grinding or clenching teeth was wearing a mouthguard to sleep or managing nerves associated with stressful situations. In recent years, however, dentists have been trying out a new, somewhat surprising solution with very promising results: Botox injections. You may have heard of Botox before, but likely as a treatment for wrinkles and muscle spasms. Today we’re delving in to how Botox can be used to alleviate teeth grinding and you may be surprised by what you learn!
How will it work?
IBotox is derived from the botulinum toxin and it acts by temporarily paralyzing muscles in a concentrated location. This has made it useful as both an anti-wrinkle treatment as well as in aiding conditions characterized by muscle spasms. Recent research has shown that injecting small amounts of Botox into the masseter muscle just below the cheekbone, the frontalis muscle in your forehead, and the temporalis muscle in your temples can relax the muscles used in your jaw and significantly reduce the amount of grinding or clenching a patient experiences leading to healthier teeth and a reduction in headaches and jaw pain. Botox is a temporary solution as the injection will wear away over time, but it is entirely possible to repeat injections as needed if your dentist finds it advisable.
Are there any side effects?
IWhile Botox will help alleviate teeth grinding and clenching symptoms in the short-term, a permanent, long term solution may still need to be found. Some studies have shown that repeated use of Botox over time can lead to a loss of bone density. Other long-term side effects are still being researched, but in the short-term it has been found by some that the relaxation of their facial muscles can result in a lessened ability to express facial emotions. These cosmetic effects generally go away a few weeks after the injections are given. Because Botox is a medical treatment, it is important to discuss the pros and cons with both your dentist before moving forward with any treatments.
If you suffer from jaw clenching or teeth grinding, there are fortunately many ways to help you get your teeth back to a healthy, relaxed state. Your dentist may want to explore other treatment options before Botox, such as a nighttime mouthguard, acupuncture, or daytime stress management.
If you’ve tried other solutions and would like to know more about Botox injections to help your teeth grinding problems, give us a call at Sunrise Dental Care in Geneva to schedule a consultation today!