Botox For Teeth Grinding
Not such a good idea after all?
Botox injections for teeth grinding has been a fairly recent and somewhat successful alternative therapy for persons suffering from teeth grinding at night.
Bruxism affects an estimated 1 in 12 adults and has the following symptoms:
• severely chipped or worn teeth
• higher cases of root canal
• grinding noise and problems when eating
• swollen gums, or retreated gums without having a gum disease
• sore jaw muscles, especially in the morning
• damaged tongue, or chewed inner-area of the cheek
• facial pain
• appearance of shortened face between the chin and nose, and/or an enlarged masseter muscle which makes the jaw look bigger
The pressure on your teeth during grinding can be a significant amount more than the force you use during normal biting and chewing during the day (it can up to 130% harder at night).
Due to this, your incisors can become shorter – with tiny chip marks and sharp edges, and your canines can be covered with cuts.
The internet is full of the latest and greatest solutions to stop teeth grinding, but beware: Botox for teeth grinding may not be 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, some research has shown that though short term positive results have been noted, there are long term negative side effects that may outweigh them.
This was noted when studies on the effects of Botox were conducted on animals.
Later, Dr. Karen Raphael – 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 of Botox In the Dental Industry
How does Botox work?
Quick answer: It blocks nerve signals to the muscles, thus relaxing them.
Botox is a relatively new treatment method that is provided to patients, correcting their underlying problem: forcefully contracting their muscles.
It is normally injected into three of the major muscles that cause teeth grinding; temporalis, masseter, and the lateral pyterygoid muscle.
It relaxes these muscles and (conceivably) prevents teeth grinding during the sleep. Botox doesn’t affect chewing, talking or eating. Most patients experience a decrease of most or all of their symptoms from Bruxism and TMJ 1 or 2 weeks after the injection. A Botox injection is then effective in this case for 4 to 6 months.
Botox, a simple and short (15-20 Minute) procedure, can prevent unnecessary teeth grinding and clenching, facilitate better quality and healthy sleep, prevent damage to the teeth, stop pain and headaches, and even improve the quality of your life altogether.
Teeth grinding occurs due to clenched jaw muscles. This is what Botox lessens; the ability of your muscles to clench tightly, thus decreasing the amount of grinding that can occur.
Where do the Botox injections go?
Quick answer: Treatment areas typically include the temporalis, lateral pyterygoid, and the masseter.
Botox injections should be performed by qualified Botox injectors. Make sure your practitioner is highly knowledgeable of execution, aesthetics and function. Specialists warn not to massage your jaw right after having Botox injections. Also avoid excessive chocolate, caffeine, sugar, soda and other foods that can make you feel jittery and stressed.
Why use Botox for teeth grinding?
Some dentists have used and are using 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 the 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 have 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 an old bone is dissolves, a 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 can reduce bone density in some individuals.
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 that it’s permanent.
A study conducted by NYU involved 79 women all suffering from TMJD. 35 received Botox injections over the course of a year. 44 of them received no injections. The researchers measured the partipants’ jaw bone density and volume. The findings? The partcipants who received lower doses of Botox had no bone density loss while those with higher doses did have bone density loss. Verdict?: At this stage, more research is needed to draw a consensus about the use of Botox and bone density loss.
There was another small-scale placebo study conducted recently. It should be noted that this study was funded by a company that makes Botox (big surprise).
22 people spent a night in a sleep lab. 13 of them received Botox in their cheek and masseter muscles. 9 received a placebo. Those that had been given the placebo reported no improvement. Six people out of the 13 that received Botox reported “much improved” or “very improved” symptoms.
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, including the 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.
What else can I do to stop grinding teeth?
2. Stress Relief Exercises
Bruxism due to stress can be controlled by reducing stress with special 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 then, 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.
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