Bruxism—even the name sounds painful. Bruxism is the unconscious clenching and grinding of the teeth, which usually occurs when a person is asleep. It affects about 25 percent of adults, with symptoms that include soreness in the jaw, tooth sensitivity, tight jaw muscles, pain that feels like an earache, and dull headache originating in the temples.
Because the pressure on the teeth during grinding can be about 20 times greater than that in normal biting and chewing, a patient can damage their teeth or experience a locked jaw. The teeth often end up shorter with tiny chip marks and sharp edges.
Treatment for Bruxism
The treatment for the condition has always been basic. In fact, the condition has no established treatment—those who experience it undergo stress management treatments or simply wear a mouth guard at night.
Fortunately, results from a small study suggest Botulinum Toxin injections can be used as a treatment for bruxism. While dermal fillers are more commonly associated with cosmetic procedures, many dentists are now using them as a way of keeping bruxism under control.
The Small Study
The small randomised study tested 13 patients with severe bruxism during sleep. The patients received Botulinum Toxin injections in their jaw muscles, and reported significant reductions in their grinding and pain. Ten patients who received placebo injections, on the other hand, also reported an improvement in their condition—but not as significant as those who received dermal fillers.
How It Happens
Botulinum toxin type A, from which Botulinum Toxin takes its brand name from, is a purified form of Clostridium botulinum. Clostridium botulinum is a type of bacteria that causes food poisoning, and when injected, it hinders the release of certain chemicals at the connection between a nerve and a muscle. This causes the message for the muscle to be blocked, causing the muscles to relax.
There are three sets of muscles involved in moving the jaw. When they become overactive, the jaw clenches unconsciously, hence the person suffering from the condition clenches their jaw and grinds their teeth. Botulinum Toxin is then injected into these three sets of muscles to help them relax.
Botulinum Toxin seems like a good treatment option for patients suffering from bruxism, but larger studies are still needed to confirm the results. Nonetheless, if you want to expand your dental services and include Botulinum Toxin, enrol for Botulinum Toxin classes from BTC. Book an appointment today.
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