"I personally suffer from clenching, (so this is dear to my heart) especially when I'm stressed or concentrating on detailed work (e.g. complex dental procedures). I have a night guard to wear when I sleep but this doesn't help during the day! For me, botox has worked wonders to put less pressure on my teeth, whereas before I was starting to crack them and my jaw would lock closed…"
Dr Inah Mundy
Why does it even matter?
Jaw tension and TMJD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorders) can be mild to debilitating, cause significant pain up the face, head, jaw muscles and neck affecting day to day living. Clenching/Grinding during the day or when sleeping puts horrendous excess pressure on your teeth, fillings and restorations- wearing them down quickly, or even breaking them. (Think of tyres on your car as teeth, and doing constant burnouts or drifting will wear the treads super quickly, increasing your chances of an accident/breakage).
What are the treatment options available?
Total rest / soft diet
Pain / relaxation / anti-inflammatory medications (e.g. ibuprofen/diclofenac)
Mouth appliances called night splints/guards
Massage/ manipulation of jaw muscles
Botox injections into the jaw muscles
Orthodontics (braces) to improve the bite and/or dental work/adjustment
Dentists strongly recommend the most conservative, and reversible treatments so as to not contribute to the problem, because the jaw joint is a delicate and complex area to treat.
How does Botox work for TMD/Bruxism?
Botox is a muscle relaxant, so when it is injected into the jaw muscles, it reduces the contraction involved with clenching/grinding. By reducing the ability of these muscles to contract as forcefully, there is thought to be a reduction in the tension placed on the TMJ and surrounding tissues, leading to relief of symptoms, including less teeth grinding.
If bruxism/TMD/facial pain is diagnosed to be related to the jaw muscle over-action, your dentist will determine the dose of medication required depending on the severity of the condition. The effect can last from several weeks to several months depending on the the circumstances. After this time, the effects will completely wear off and muscle will regain the ability function as normal.
As the medication wears off, symptoms may return and re-treatment may be required. In some situations, treatment with Botox does not provide total relief of symptoms. This is usually a sign that there are other contributing factors to the condition and additional therapies may be required.
Botox offers a reversible, temporary and minimal invasive treatment option and can also be used as a diagnostic tool by dentists when trying to determine the exact nature and origin of your pain.
If you suffer from joint problems, pain, clenching or grinding- contact us to discuss your options and start living comfortably again.