Botox for Teeth Grinding
10 January 2013
Leah Hardy, UK Beauty Journalist, who has suffered from sleep teeth grinding for years, talks to Dr Mervyn Patterson about how his Botox treatments to tackle her painful problem have helped relieve her symptoms.
Botox has many medical uses other than just treating lines and wrinkles. One of its little known uses is the treatment of teeth grinding or ‘Bruxism’ as it is referred to by the medical profession. It describes the act of grinding the teeth and clenching the jaw. Regular and persistent grinding of the teeth can result in jaw pain, headaches,ear aches and can also contribute to the wearing down and breaking of the teeth. Most cases of Bruxism occur subconsciously during sleep. Bruxism is classified into ‘awake Bruxism’ and ‘sleep Bruxism’. Awake bruxism is characterised by involuntary clenching of the teeth and jaw bracing in reaction to certain stimuli. There is generally no tooth grinding with awake Bruxism. Sleep bruxism is characterised by automatic teeth grinding with rhythmic and sustained jaw muscle contractions.
Bruxism affects sufferers in many ways. Some of the adverse effects are short-term and disappear when the bruxism ceases. Others sadly are long-term and sometimes permanent. Bruxism sufferers are three times more likely to suffer from headaches; they can also suffer with aching of the jaw and facial muscles, also known as facial myalgia. Bruxism suffers commonly have a disrupted sleep and if they have a partner the noise they make during ‘sleep bruxism’ can keep them awake too.
Leah Hardy, a leading freelance writer from London has been coming to Woodford Medical to see Dr Patterson for Botox for Bruxism treatments. We sat down with Leah to ask her a few questions.
Before you had the Botox treatments, just how bad was your problem?
“I didn't realise I had a problem with grinding my teeth until a dentist told me that I was literally grinding my teeth away. I'd had years of dental problems, including cracked teeth and fillings coming out, and I was told I shaking out the fillings by grinding my teeth in mysleep. It was very expensive and also very upsetting. I would also wake up with my jaw almost locked. I would hear a terrible click in my jaw when I yawned in the morning and the muscles along my jawline ached.”
Had you tried any other treatments before trying Botox injections?
“I had thought about having a mouth guard made, but this would cost hundreds of pounds, I doubted I could sleep with it in and while it would protect my teeth, it wouldn't actuallystop the grinding.”
Where you sceptical about Botox for Bruxism?
“Yes! I wasn't sure it would work and I was also worried that the injection would leave me slack jawed, drooling and unable to eat a steak. All my fears turned out to be unfounded!”
When did you first feel the benefits of your Botoxtreatments?
“It took some weeks to be honest, but that's because I only grind my teeth when asleep so don't know when it's happening. Eventually I realised that I no longer woke up with 'lockjaw' and my facial muscles didn't ache. Then I had some photographs taken and I could see that my face shape had changed. Grinding had made my 'masseter' muscles in the jaw grow, so my jawline had become quite heavy, which was ageing. Botox made my jaw narrower and tighter looking, which looked much better, and was definitely anti-ageing. “
How has the Botox treatment impacted your Bruxism?
“I can't swear it stopped it completely- as I said - I'm asleep when it happens, but it recently wore off and I started waking up with the familiar tightness and ache in myjaw and I even started to get toothache from gritting my teeth so hard. I am now booked in for a second treatment, and am very much looking forward to it. I wouldrecommend Botox for bruxism to anyone. In fact, I have recommended it to many people. I think it's completely brilliant!”