29 Jun Can Botox Stop Teeth Grinding?
Can Botox Stop Teeth Grinding?
Q&A with Dr Wong: Medical Director of Kowayo Aesthetic
Do you constantly battle with poor sleep due to headaches, aching jaw and swollen gums, or worse, you find yourself waking up one day only to discover a chipped front tooth. You are not alone if you suffer from teeth grinding as this condition affects about one in four adults, who runs the danger of having their tooth enamel eroded. The unconscious grinding and force applied on the teeth can be up to 20 times greater than the pressure applied on your pearly whites during normal chewing and biting when you are awake. Today, we cast the spotlight on Botox and how it can help to stop teeth grinding.
Q: What is Bruxism and its side effects?
Dr Wong: Bruxism is the medical term for the unconscious grinding and clenching of teeth that can happen when we are asleep, which may lead to painful and severe dental issues. Over a prolong period, it can cause headache, earache, facial pain and even bad migraines. Dental problems include the loss of precious tooth enamel, hyper-sensitivity and chipping of the teeth. Another negative effect of bruxism is the appearance of a masculine square jaw caused by hypertrophy (enlargement) of the masseter (chewing) muscle.
Q: What causes teeth grinding?
Dr Wong: The causes of bruxism are not exactly known but have generally been attributed to stress and anxiety. It is most likely a combination of physical, psychological and genetic factors.
Q: What happens when teeth grinding is left untreated?
Dr Wong: If left untreated, patients with bruxism will suffer damage to the TMJ (temporomandibular joint), headache and excessive wear and tear of the teeth. I have a patient who grinds her teeth so badly that she has difficulty eating harder foods like steak and chicken.
Q: What is Botox and how is Botox used to treat teeth grinding?
Dr Wong: Botox is Botulinum toxin type A and it works by relaxing the muscle temporarily. In patients with bruxism, the over-active muscles causes the jaw to clench unconsciously. By injecting Botox directly into these muscles, they are relaxed and weakened to stop involuntary clenching and grinding of the teeth. Additionally, this treatment can also reduce the size of the chewing muscle and achieve a slimmer face. This is part of the popular V-shape face treatment in the aesthetic field.
Nowadays, Botox is produced in the laboratory using good bacteria and is widely used in the medical field for more than 30 years. They are manufactured under a few brand names, including Dysport, Botox and Xeomin. Botox is also FDA-approved and commonly used to improve and smoothen wrinkles.Q: Can Botox Stop Teeth Grinding?
Dr Wong: Botox has proven to be an effective treatment for bruxism compared to conventional methods such as medications and dental devices (i.e. mouth guards). Although dental devices can protect the teeth from excessive grinding, they are not able to stop the painful side effects of teeth grinding. Some patients also find it harder to sleep with a mouth guard on and experience difficulties adjusting to it.
The procedure involves a simple injection which takes about 5 minutes and has no downtime. Many patients feedback that the procedure is tolerable and almost pain free. Patients can expect improvements in their symptoms about 1 week after the treatment. Voluntary movements – chewing and facial expressions – would not be affected.
Q: How often should you repeat this treatment?
Dr Wong: Typically, Botox used for treating teeth grinding will last between 4-6 months.
Dr Wong Kee Seng, Kowayo Aesthetic’s medical director, is a physician registered with the
Singapore Medical Council (SMC). He has a special interest in dermatology with a postgraduate MRCP qualification from the Royal College of Physicians, as well as a Cardiff University Diploma of Practical Dermatology from the UK. He is also a member of the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine.
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