Bruxism is a condition that causes uncontrollable grinding and clenching of the teeth. Many patients are unconscious of the action, which means you could be grinding and not even know it. You also might be doing it at night while you sleep.
If left untreated, your bruxism could lead to chronic headaches, jaw disorders, tooth damage and neck problems. The damage to your teeth might eventually require expensive and painful dental work. Therefore, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Bruxism
- Clenching or grinding teeth while awake or asleep
- Damage to molars or tooth enamel
- Headaches, earaches or facial pain
- Exhausted jaw muscles
- Difficulty speaking due to jaw misalignment
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Misaligned bite
- Tongue indentations
Some of these symptoms may also indicate other health conditions, so it’s important to talk with your doctor before getting treatment.
Bruxism at Night
Although the symptoms of bruxism are often obvious, it’s possible that you might be grinding your teeth at night and not even know it. Waking up with a headache or constantly suffering from a sore jaw are reasons for concern. If you have a partner, ask him or her if you are audibly grinding at night. You can also have your dentist to check for signs of tooth damage.
The Causes of Bruxism
Bruxism can have many different causes, from an injury to chronic stress. If you’re holding onto anger or worry, your body could be dealing with it through teeth grinding. The problem can also sometimes appear as a side effect from certain medications or a complication due to a disorder such as Huntington’s disease.
Botox as a Treatment for Bruxism
You’ve probably already heard of Botox as a treatment for wrinkles and overactive sweat glands, but it’s now being used for bruxism as well. The treatment involves injecting 35 to 75 units of Botox into each of the patient’s masseter muscles. Masseter is the muscle you use to clench your teeth. This forces the muscles to relax and helps to reduce the clenching. Patients begin to feel better within days of beginning the treatment program, and each treatment will last between 6 to 12 months.
Benefits of Botox for Teeth Grinding:
- Botox works wonders for many patients, despite being an ‘off-label’ treatment;
- There won’t be a need for invasive or expensive surgery;
- The procedure presents a low risk of side effects;
- You will experience a great deal of pain relief;
- The treatment is minimally invasive and can be accomplished on your lunch break;
- You might notice a thinner and more-attractive jawline.
Studies on Botox and Bruxism
A study by the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston demonstrated that patients who had Botox injected into their masseter muscles experienced a major reduction in pain and grinding when compared to the placebo group. A second study, which was conducted at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, also found that bruxism sufferers benefited from Botox treatments. Neither study indicated any major side effects. Proper sleep and healthy breathing were not altered in any way.
Aiding Your Treatment
There are a few things you can do to naturally complement the Botox treatment for bruxism. Lightly massaging your face and jaw before bed can bring relief from the stress of the day and help you avoid grinding at night. Holding a warm washcloth on your face will have a similar effect. You might want to avoid excessive caffeine, chocolate, soda, sugar or other foods that make you feel stressed and jittery.
Getting Help for Your Bruxism
If you’re ready to diagnose and begin treating your bruxism, the professionals at Skin by Lovely in the Pearl District of Portland Oregon or Santa Monica can help! We are leading instructors and Botox injectors who work closely with dentist partners to cure teeth grinding problems. Don’t suffer with this painful and frustrating condition any longer. Please contact us for more information in our Portland, Oregon or our Santa Monica, California locations.