Health and Fitness

Could Botox Stop You From Grinding Your Teeth?

Bruxism (teeth grinding) and Botox might sound like an odd combination at first. But if you’re one of the many people who clench and grind their teeth in their sleep, Botox might just be the answer for a good night’s sleep.

So, could Botox, an injectable typically used to treat wrinkles, really help with your annoying teeth grinding situation? Let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

What is bruxism?

Bruxism falls under sleep-related movement disorders. If you experience this condition, you might be grinding and clenching your teeth unconsciously in your sleep. It can occur when you’re awake as well – this is known as awake bruxism.

No one really knows what causes people to grind their teeth. In some people it may be related to stress or anxiety, and may be made worse by lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption, smoking or caffeine intake.  Physical factors, such as an abnormal bite or crooked teeth, may also be the cause.

If you have bruxism chances are you might also suffer from other sleep disorders like snoring or sleep apnea (pauses in breathing). What’s worse, severe bruxism can take a bigger toll on your life and damage your teeth over time by wearing them down. Bruxism can also cause jaw disorders, headaches and even temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome – a condition of the jaw muscles and nerves, which can be very painful.

Benefits of using Botox for bruxism according to research

Research suggests that Botox administered into the chewing muscles in the cheeks can interrupt the signals that allow these muscles to contract. As a result, the treatment can also relieve teeth grinding and clenching. The good news is, unlike other treatments, including mouth guards or behavioral and drug treatments, Botox injections are very effective, not to mention safe.

In one study, doctors injected 13 participants with Botox through their cheeks into the chewing muscles.  The other 9 participates received an inactive placebo instead.

After 4 to 8 weeks researchers reassessed the patients, and the results were promising. The placebo group showed no improvement at all whereas 6 of the participants who were given Botox injections showed a vast improvement in their symptoms. Moreover, the Botox treatment produced no serious side effects, except for 2 participants having lopsided smiles that eventually came back to normal after a couple of weeks.

Notable benefits of Botox in the treatment of bruxism

  1. Relaxes the jaw

One of the most unpleasant causes of bruxism is having a tense jaw. Botox injections can dwindle muscle activity in the jaw and relieve the associated soreness and headaches. Botox can also improve sleep and oral health as well as decreasing the involuntary teeth grinding.

  1. Improves sleep

Many conventional treatments for bruxism don’t always allow the patients to have a full, good night’s sleep. For instance, nightguards that help with nighttime teeth grinding can be extremely tricky and uncomfortable to wear. Botox treatment, on the other hand, can ease the jaw and facial muscles to accommodate the patient to get a night of uninterrupted sleep.

  1. Provides cosmetic benefits

A stiff jaw is one of the dead giveaways that your muscles aren’t working up to par due to bruxism. However, many patients have reported having a softer jaw appearance after being treated with Botox. Especially people with a strong, square jawline may benefit from the weakening of the masseter muscle, which can lead to a more feminine, “V-shaped” jawline.

What to expect from your Botox treatment 

During your treatment, the doctor will inject a small amount of Botox into the masseter muscle – this is the muscle used in chewing, and the main muscle responsible for teeth grinding. The typical treatment dose is 20-30 units of Botox on either side, for a total dose of 40-60 units.  The treatment itself will only take a few minutes, and you can usually go home almost straight away.

Most people should see an improvement in their condition within 2 weeks, and the effects generally last around 6 months. This is a quick and safe treatment with typically only mild side effects. The  most common ones include minor swelling and bruising at the injections site, which will subside on its own within a couple of days.

In a nutshell

Botox has established itself as one of the world’s most popular anti-aging treatments . It then slowly began to hold its own among the other popular treatments due to its considerable effectiveness in treating a number of other conditions, such as migraines and excessive sweating.

Although the cause of bruxism isn’t perfectly clear, it has something to do with abnormal brain signals that lead to involuntary and forceful contractions of the jaw muscles. This is why bruxism makes people clench and grind their teeth. But now, thanks to Botox, there’s a solid promise of getting rid of bruxism. If you would like to find out more, speak to your doctor, or contact a Botox clinic for a consultation.

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