Jaw clenching, teeth grinding or bruxism is a problem that afflicts a large percentage of individuals.
Treatment typically leads to relief from jaw pain, facial pain and headaches. You may also notice a softening in the outline of your lower face, resulting in a more normal, less angular jawline.
Up to 5-20% of adults and up to 30% of children in the age group of 5-6 suffer from nocturnal bruxism.
Aggravated by stress, nocturnal bruxism frequently runs in families and can be solved with a teeth grinding treatment. People who clench their teeth during the day or at night mostly do so without knowing that they are doing it – they can’t help themselves. Those that only grind at night only know that they are doing it if they wake up with jaw soreness or if their dentist notices that they are wearing down their teeth.
Why does it matter if I grind my teeth?
Bruxism can result in headaches, earaches, facial pain, chipped or worn down teeth and chewed tissue on the inside of the mouth. Chronic grinding will often lead to an enlarged masseter muscle – the main muscle that is used for chewing. This is a muscle that is located at the angle of the jaw. Grinding builds this muscle and makes it stronger, like lifting weights does for the biceps. The stronger the muscle gets, the more damage clenching causes to the teeth. Headaches and facial pain also tend to get worse with time, and overactive, enlarged masseters can give a square, severe appearance to the lower face.
Weakening the masseter muscle can improve the pain and discomfort caused by chronic bruxism.
Teeth grinding treatment involves approximately 5 small injections into the deep part of the muscle on either side of the face. The product used is the same as for treating wrinkles. Injections are done through the outer skin into the underlying muscle, and are usually painless or cause a slight sting. Results start within a few days after injection and last for 3-6 months. Initially, patients may be advised to return within a shorter period of time for reassessment and maintenance dose. The dose intervals get prolonged with repeated treatments. Occasionally, the cycle of bruxism can be broken after a few treatments and ongoing treatment is not always necessary. At your first consultation a treatment plan will be established based on your individual case and needs.
This treatment can also be used to slim the lower face in patients with genetically large masseter muscles.