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Teeth Grinding Treatment - man with aching jaw

Bruxism (Teeth-grinding)

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 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 often do so without knowing that they are doing it. Those that only grind at night may 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 and is one of 4 muscles used to bite the jaw together. Repetitive use builds up these muscles and makes them stronger, like lifting weights does for the biceps. The stronger the muscles get, 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 wide, square appearance to the lower face.

What are the treatment options for bruxism?

Bruxism is best managed in a multi-disciplinary way with a number of different strategies. Conservative management with a protective mouth guard is usually the first step. These can be custom-made by your dentist and help reduce damage to the teeth. Other interventions include lifestyle changes (for instance reducing caffeine and alcohol intake), stress management, physiotherapy, and medication. Typically, more than one healthcare provider is involved in the care of a patient with symptomatic bruxism:

  • Dentist
  • Orofacial Pain Specialist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Psychologist
  • Doctor

Reducing the power of the masseter muscles can improve the pain and discomfort caused by chronic bruxism.

One option for treatment of symptomatic teeth grinding involves a few 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, or through the inside of the mouth, 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.

This injection treatment is only suitable for adults over the age of 18 and is not appropriate in all cases. At your initial consultation with one of our doctors, a treatment plan will be established based on your individual case and needs.

This treatment can also be used to aesthetically slim the lower face in patients with genetically large masseter muscles.

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