If you’re someone who is prone to constantly grinding your teeth (also known as bruxism), it’s likely you’ve experienced pain, discomfort, and muscle tension as a result. While most people naturally grind their teeth from time to time, others can develop a habit of involuntarily (and even unconsciously) grinding their teeth throughout the day or night. Some people grind their teeth while awake, as a response to stress or anxiety. Other sufferers of bruxism grind their teeth during their sleep, making them largely unaware of their behavior. In the longer term, bruxism can lead to pain, migraines, oral complications, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems if left untreated. Botox has been shown in publications by the Canadian Dental Association to be an effective treatment for bruxism. When injected into the cheek’s chewing muscles (masseters), it helps them to relax and makes them less prone to clenching or grinding. However, is Botox for bruxism safe? Let’s take a deeper look into what bruxism is, the safety and efficacy of Botox as a treatment solution, and how our experts can help. What is Bruxism? Bruxism is a term used to describe constant and involuntary teeth grinding. These mouth movements usually involve forceful teeth clenching or chewing motions.
Some people find themselves repeatedly grinding their teeth throughout their day without realizing it. Others with bruxism grind their teeth during their sleep. Those who suffer from sleep bruxism often find their habit more challenging to combat, as they are usually not cognizant of when and how often they grind their teeth. Those who grind their teeth while asleep are also unaware of this until they wake up in pain. If left untreated, bruxism can lead to a wide range of painful symptoms and side effects.
The two most common signs of bruxism are TMJ pain and facial pain, which occur as a result of frequently tightened muscles during episodes of teeth grinding. Those suffering from bruxism are also prone to severe headaches, especially in the morning. Long-term bruxism can lead to dental damage and chronic facial pain. How can Botox Help Treat Bruxism?
Botox (made from onabotulinum toxin-A) helps relax muscles in the face when administered. While this makes it a common choice for smoothing out unwanted wrinkles and facial rejuvenation, this also makes it effective for allowing the masseter chewing muscles to relax and making them less prone to grinding. Studies have shown that when administered with Botox, bruxism patients experienced a significant reduction of their painful symptoms especially when added to a mouth guard. Unwanted side effects were rare as a result of receiving the treatment, indicating that like Botox for cosmetic treatments, this is indeed safe and effective. In our experience, the most common side effect is shrinking of the masseter muscles themselves, however this typically creates a tapering in the lower half of the face, an effect many clients request! How Does Our Treatment Work? Prior to receiving treatment, our Medical Director, Dr W Michalski, will first review your medical history and symptoms, to ensure that Botox is the right treatment for you. If you have experienced any allergic reactions to other botulinum toxins, you may not be a candidate for treatment. However, Botox is generally very safe for most clients of varying backgrounds. During your bruxism treatment, our cosmetic nurses will inject Botox into the masseter muscles used for chewing. To administer treatment, we use a fine needle that provides minimal discomfort (many clients report feeling a small stinging sensation, at most). We customize our treatment plans based on the unique needs of each client, hence no two treatment plans are the same. To ensure that each client receives the best results, we start with a smaller amount of Botox and bring you back in 6 weeks or so. If you need more of an effect, then we continue to treat until we have your grinding under control.
Many insurance companies will cover Botox for Bruxism and we can assist with the paperwork!
Want to Learn More?
If you suffer from bruxism and are seeking a safe, effective, and non-invasive treatment method, our team at Waterloo Medical Cosmetics is here to help you achieve better sleep, easier mornings, and a pain-free smile.