When you talk to most people about Botox, they naturally associate it with the kind of cosmetic procedures it’s become famous for. Botox injections can leave you with fewer lines and a more refreshed, youthful expression and appearance on the face.
At the offices of Steven Jepson MD, we have a number of Botox specials available for clients who need them. Did you know, though, that Botox has additional benefits beyond the cosmetic world? One such benefit is with bruxism, or the unconscious clenching and grinding of teeth, either while awake or asleep. Let’s look at how bruxism works, how Botox might be more effective than other procedures in some cases, and how this procedure will go.
Bruxism, either while awake or asleep, can lead to painful and significant dental issues for some people. In chronic cases, it can lead to everything from headaches and earaches to migraines and major facial pain. On the structural side, it can cause loss of tooth enamel, chipping or flattening of teeth, and heavily increased sensitivity. It can also lead to severe cases of the appearance of a square jaw.
Addressing the Source Issue
There are other treatments on the market for bruxism, such as anti-inflammatory medications and dental devices like mouthguards to simply mask the problem. However, these don’t get to the source.
Botox, or botulinum toxin, on the other hand, does target this root source. It specifically treats muscle activity and spasticity that causes grinding and clenching, which in turn leads to the painful side effects that even a great mouthguard can’t get rid of.
Botox Procedure and Effectiveness
When Botox is used to treat bruxism, it’s injected in small doses directly into the muscle that controls the jaw, called the masseter muscle. This weakens the muscle to a large enough degree that it reduces clenching and grinding, reducing wear on the teeth and relaxing the muscle over time. At the same time, though, voluntary movements like facial expressions will not be affected in any way.
It should be noted that Botox injections are not a cure for bruxism. That said, they can control symptoms better than other solutions for many patients, with treatments lasting three or four months in most cases.