Bruxism is a tension-related disorder that causes a person to grind, grit, or clench their teeth using the jaw muscles. This condition may occur unconsciously while asleep or even when a person is awake.
It can involve all the teeth or only the front teeth. In severe cases, bruxism can cause frequent headaches, jaw pain, gum sensitivity, interrupted sleep patterns, and much more. Since most people are not aware that they have bruxism, it is important to schedule regular dental check-ups so that this disorder does not go undetected.
Signs and symptoms of bruxism
- Oversensitive teeth.
- Neck soreness or pain.
- Alarming facial pain.
- Sore jaw muscles.
- Earache-like pain but no ear problems.
- Faint headache starting at the temple.
- Mild to moderate headache.
- Inside the cheek damage.
- Uncommon tooth wears such as flattened, chipped, or worn enamel.
- Disturbed sleep.
- Dental work damaged.
- Locked jaw.
- Teeth grinding or clenching wakes up the person next to you.
Bruxism is commonly diagnosed during a routine dental exam when the dentist checks for evidence of grinding. Although, a person with bruxism is first made aware that they do grind their teeth when the person sleeping next to them hears it. If you suffer from mild bruxism, you may not need any treatment at all, but for severe cases, an intervention may be required to improve the function of the teeth.
If you have already tried conventional measures to correct your grinding and clenching behavior, you might be surprised to learn that Botox has proven to be an effective treatment for bruxism. According to studies published in Neurology and Pain Research and Management, evidence shows that since Botox, short for botulinum toxin, paralyzes muscles so can help to stop jaw clenching and teeth grinding, at least temporarily. So, Botox for bruxism might be an option your dentist considers.
For anyone being treated using Botox for bruxism, a small amount will be injected into the muscles that move the jaw. Botox not only helps to reduce the clenching and grinding behavior but can decrease any tension and headaches you might be experiencing. Botox usually kicks in about one to three days after being injected but may take up to two weeks. Its effectiveness could last three to six months. Botox is relatively safe when administered by a doctor, but there are a few side effects.
Side effects of Botox for bruxism
- Pain, swelling, and bruising at the injection site.
- Droopy eyelids or offset eyebrows.
- Headache or flu-like symptoms.
- Crooked smile or drooling.
- Excessive eye tearing or dryness.
In rare cases, Botox can spread into your body, causing other side effects. If you experience any of these symptoms hours or weeks after your injection, it is vital to contact your doctor as soon as possible.
- Trouble swallowing or speaking.
- Loss of bladder control.
- Problems with your vision.
- Breathing issues.
- Weakness of the muscles.
More than likely, Botox will not be your dentist’s first option for treating bruxism. Treatment will be dependent on the type of bruxism you have and the symptoms you are experiencing. Although, there are factors that might reduce the risk of grinding and clenching your teeth which might prevent you from developing bruxism.
Tips to reduce developing bruxism
- Reduce or eliminate caffeinated drinks and foods such as coffee, tea, and chocolate.
- Avoid chewing on pens, pencils, or other items.
- Wear a nightguard.
- Alleviate stress.
- Seek professional help for anxiety, anger, or emotional problems.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Do not chew sticky foods or gum, which will decrease adapting to clenching and grinding motions.
- Relax the jaw muscles by placing a warm compress against the cheek.
- Be mindful of when you are clenching and grinding so you can concentrate on stopping it.
According to medical experts, the exact cause of bruxism is a combination of physical, psychological, and genetic issues. Awake bruxism might be due to emotions such as anxiety, anger, or stress. It could also be a habit when concentrating or even a coping mechanism. Nocturnal bruxism might be a sleep-related chewing activity that is brought on by arousals during sleep.
Other causes of bruxism may be tied to underlying medical conditions such as Huntington’s disease, cranial nerve disorders, and epilepsy, just to name a few. In addition, side effects from medication, missing teeth, or abnormal bites may be associated with bruxism.
Even though bruxism might not always be critical and therefore may not require treatment, it is still important to seek a dentist for an assessment. If you think you might have bruxism, contact Maestri Dental in Lafayette, LA, at 337-704-2126.
Dr. Gina Liggio Maestri has served the Acadiana area for over a decade and can help you with any dental concerns you are experiencing. Our friendly staff will make you feel welcomed and comfortable at every visit.