Bruxism is the medical term for the grinding and clenching that one may do while sleeping, or even when awake, can cause jaw and tooth pain, facial pain, earaches, and headaches, including migraines, as well as dental complications like tooth enamel loss, sensitive teeth, and grinded down or chipped teeth.
Another side effect of teeth grinding, is what’s called hypertrophy of the masseter muscle, which can make the jaw appear very square. It may come as a surprise that treatment for bruxism is available in the form of injections of Botulinum Toxin Type A, or Botox. Botox treatments can relieve jaw pain, headaches, and other side effects that bruxism causes. For those with hypertrophy of the masseter muscle, the square jaw can be rounded somewhat with Botox treatment.
Traditional Bruxism Treatments
Night guards only lessen the noise and protect from some dental complications, but many other side effects, like headaches and jaw pain, remain because the action continues, regardless of whether the night guard is in place. Anti-inflammatory medications are also given to treat bruxism, but it is not very successful because it does not go directly to the problem’s source.
The clinician injects small doses of Botox into the masseter muscle, which is the muscle that allows the jaw to move. This weakens and relaxes the muscle just enough for the involuntary clenching and grinding to stop. The treatment lessens the dental complications from bruxism. Problems with the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, as well as headaches are lessened or eradicated. Chewing and other voluntary movements of the face are not impacted by this treatment.
Is Botox Effective as a Bruxism Treatment?
In a word, yes. Certainly, Botox injections will not cure bruxism, but they are able to keep the symptoms from occurring, and greatly lessen the side effects caused by bruxism. For some people, Botox injections are able to accomplish this better than a night guard can.
The Botox bruxism treatment usually lasts about three or four months.