Botox For Teeth Grinding?
Bruxism (teeth grinding and jaw clenching) affects millions of people of all ages and nationalities around the globe. When teeth grinding and jaw clenching become a regular occurrence, unanticipated real problems can arise. These complications include tooth pain, facial and jaw pain, fracture lines in the teeth, even cracks and breakage and can sometimes turn into very expensive dental restoration treatment and/or treatment for temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). The internet is full of latest and greatest solutions to stop teeth grinding, but readers beware: Botox for teeth grinding is not the “fix” we once thought it was.
Botox has long been used worldwide for medical or cosmetic reasons.
Botox injections have been successful in what they were intended to do which is to reduce wrinkles and fine lines in the face.
It has also been successful in short term relief of teeth grinding habits because after injections, you are unable to bite down with the same force as usual.
However, research has shown that though short term positive results have been noted, there are long term negative side effects that may outweigh the benefits.
This was noted when studies on effects of Botox were conducted on animals.
Later, Dr. Karen Raphael who is a professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology conducted a study on people who had received botox for teeth grinding and saw the same negative effects that were seen in the animals.
Use In the Dental Industry
Why use Botox for teeth grinding?
Some dentists have used Botox injections as treatment for teeth grinding (bruxism). The injections were meant to reduce symptoms of bruxism, not to cure it. The chewing muscles on the jaw are known as masseter muscles. Botox injections reduce the size of these muscles which makes it hard for you to bite with the same force you had before, hence teeth grinding is prevented. The injections worked on those who used them which explains why dentists continued administering this treatment.
Botox For Teeth Grinding: Not Such a Good Idea After All
Masseter Botox Treatments & Bone Loss
How do Botox injections decrease bone density?
Our bones are renewed constantly. When old bone is dissolved, new bone is being made by cells called osteoblasts.
Your bones usually renew as a result of this muscle tugging and impact.
During Botox, since the masseter muscles are reduced, new bones cannot be formed effectively in the jaw. Despite its short term positive results, it has been discovered that Botox reduces bone density.
This becomes even worse if the Botox treatment is continued. If reduction in bone density is severe, it could result in loose teeth or loss of teeth which makes your dental condition worse than it was before. The damage caused by Botox was believed to be temporary at first but it has now been confirmed it is permanent.
There are several other treatments for bruxism that are safer. Some of these treatments include:
1. Wearing Night Guards
Night guards are usually used to prevent the negative effects of teeth grinding which includes wearing away of the enamel.
Night guards can be easily found in stores but the best type is one that is custom made for you. Other night guards that are not custom made cannot be altered to fit your mouth and they can cause more damage to your dental health if used. Custom made night guards are usually more costly but they are safe to use.
Okay so no Botox for teeth grinding. Got it.
What else can I do to stop grinding teeth?
2. Stress Relief Exercises
Bruxism due to stress can be controlled by doing stress relief exercises. Some of them include:
b) Deep breathing
d) Tai Chi (a type of martial art that relieves stress)
3. Behavior Therapy
This therapy helps you discover what behaviors you have that lead to Bruxism and they are addressed accordingly. The therapy may include help in positioning your tongue in a way that prevents teeth grinding.
4. Dental Correction
Bruxism can occur due to misaligned teeth. In such cases, oral surgery or braces may be prescribed by the dentist depending on the severity of your condition.
Depending on your situation, the doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants which should be taken before sleeping thus preventing teeth grinding while sleeping.
A sleep study should also be considered if you are suffering from excessive teeth grinding, jaw clenching or tongue biting.
Discuss options with your dentist. Do your research and avoid Botox for teeth grinding.
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