Botox To Treat Teeth Grinding

by Samantha on March 8, 2010

Grinding or clenching your teeth at night is known medically as Bruxism. Typically, the term Bruxism is used to refer to when you grind or clench your teeth at night, while the daytime occurrence is typically referred to as clenching. Experts have failed to pinpoint a specific cause for this behavior; however, it is often associated with stress experienced in one’s everyday life.

When one suffers from Bruxism and/or clenching over an extended period of time, it can lead to other medical conditions. Typically, nightly teeth grinding can result in headaches, pain and muscle fatigue. Grinding your teeth at night can also lead to damage to the teeth due to the wear on the occlusal surfaces that the regular grinding can bring about.

Typically, to help resolve this problem and prevent damage to the teeth, a mouth guard is prescribed for wear at night during sleep. In addition, medication may be prescribed to try to reduce inflammation in the jaw muscles or to relax the muscles through use of sedatives. Moreover, therapies such as biofeedback, thermal applications and acupuncture may be suggested to do away with this bad and damaging habit. With so many therapies out there to try to resolve Bruxism, it is clear that there is not one individual method that has proven to truly “cure” this condition.

It is imperative when dealing with a masseter hyperactivity behavior such as teeth grinding or clenching is to relieve the muscle spasm, thereby reducing the impact of the clenching or grinding. A great way to target the muscle spasm is through Botox, which also works with quick results.

If the specific offending muscle are can be accurately located through feel, then it can be injected with speed and efficiency in an exacting manner. By breaking through the portion of the muscle that is in spasm, the major muscle contraction can be stopped, which should ultimately result in the clenching coming to an end. A direct consequence of that is the end to the pain that comes with Bruxism. The point, however, is not to paralyze the majority of the muscle, which is why precision is key.

As stated above, it is vital that the most active, spasming muscle be located and injected in order for Botox treatment to truly work in addressing teeth grinding. In many instances, the sufferer can identify the point of spasm himself, or can display the area by clenching his teeth, creating a muscle “ball”. That area can then be injected with the Botox treatments.

There are typically three or four areas along the jaw angle that can receive these injections, but there are also additional areas intraorally which can be injected, if it is needed. There is no risk of excessive muscle weakness or loss of the ability to chew associated with having spot injections done. However, it is important to make sure to keep away from the area of the masseter where the parotid gland sits between it and the skin, which is the area of the ear just below and in front of the lobe.

As far as what dosage to use, approximately 25 to 35 units of Botox per each masseter muscle should be used to start. The condition may end up needing a larger dose than this to achieve the desired result, it is best to start with 25 to 30 units for purposes of safety and to spare your wallet since most insurance companies will not pay for this treatment.

If this dosage is not working for you, then it may be the case that Botox injections are not going to work for you at all, so using more Botox will not be anything more than a waste of money. On the other hand, if you do find some relief with Botox, then you can usually count on it lasting for about four months, at which time you can go in for another injection.

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