Do you find yourself gritting your teeth, clenching your jaw or perhaps you’re grinding your teeth at night? You might notice this more if you’re going through a particularly stressful time. In this blog I will explain the symptoms and treatment for this common condition, ‘bruxism’.
What is bruxism?
Bruxism is the term given to teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Bruxism may result in facial pain and headaches. You might find these symptoms mild, but it can also be severely painful. Symptoms may include:
- Facial pain
- Painful jaw joint
- Worn teeth
- Broken teeth or fillings
- Disrupted sleep
You may be unaware that you are grinding, as it often occurs when sleeping. However, if you wake up with facial and jaw pain, this can be an indication.
Bruxism may be associated with stress or stressful periods in life, therefore adopting activities that aid in stress reduction is always beneficial.
The good news is there is another method that can help ease your bruxism symptoms, and this involves muscle relaxing injections into your masseter “chewing” muscles.
Advantages of bruxism treatment
The greatest advantage of treating your bruxism as opposed to using e.g. a mouth guard, is that it is longer term and stops the cause rather than leaving the grinding to continue while protecting your teeth.
- Less headaches
- Teeth protection
- Jaw slimming
How are muscle relaxing injections used to treat bruxism?
Small doses from the muscle relaxing injections are placed directly into the masseter muscle in order to help it relax. The muscle relaxing injections temporally block signals from nerves to muscles, resulting in decreased activity and weakness of the affected muscle.
These muscles are found in your cheeks. If you do grind or clench your teeth, these muscles tend to be larger and can be seen bulging during this action. Place your hands either side of your face and push your teeth together, you may feel your muscles in action.
Bruxism may also result in widening of the lower face over time, giving the appearance of a square jaw. This may be undesirable, particularly for female patients, therefore this treatment may also give the appearance of a slimmer jaw due to the muscles having less strength, and therefore protruding less.
Is the procedure painful?
Dr Victoria and I are experts in this area, our dentistry backgrounds ensure your safety. However, the procedure does involve numerous injections into facial muscles, and some individuals may find this uncomfortable.
However, it is a quick procedure and if you are worried about discomfort you can take an over the counter painkiller half an hour before the procedure.
When will results be seen?
Most people see results 3-5 days following treatment. However, this can vary, and the full extent of treatment may not be seen until 2 weeks following treatment.
How long does the effects of treatment last?
The amount of muscle relaxing injections you may require can vary greatly. If it is the first time the muscle relaxing injections are administered, it is wise to start with a lower dose that may be topped up later if required. Generally, men require higher doses than woman.
For both men and women, results usually last 3 – 4 months. However, this can vary.
What are the side effects of muscle relaxing injection treatment?
Although uncommon, there may be mild bruising and swelling. Therefore, it is always best to schedule treatment at least 2 weeks prior to an event.
Another side effect may be the reduction in chewing strength, resulting in more prominent cheek bones and perhaps giving the appearance of sunken cheeks.
Who should not have treatment?
If you have a known allergy or reaction to muscle relaxing injections or any of its constituents, this treatment is not recommended.
Additionally, you should avoid this treatment if:
- You have an active skin infection at the planned site of injection
- Neuromuscular conditions such as Motor Neurone Disease or Myasthenia Gravis
- If you’re pregnant or nursing
- If you’re on anticoagulants
Watch Face & Body's team member Kaitlin's bruxism treatment experience...
Book yourself in for a consultation with me so we can assess the best way forward to alleviate your bruxism symptoms. We will decide on a recommended dose for you, monitor your progress and treat accordingly.
No more facial pain or toothaches, and keep your dental work safe!