Do you find yourself more stressed than usual? Have persistent headaches and jaw pain? Have you started grinding your teeth while you sleep?
With this stressful year soon coming to an end, I thought I would draw your attention to a particular issue that many of my patients have been enquiring about.
Bruxism. Have you heard of it?
WHAT IS BRUXISM?
Bruxism is a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. If you have bruxism, you may be unconsciously clenching your teeth when you’re awake or grinding your teeth while you are sleeping.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your skull and jawbone like a hinge and allows your jaw to open and close. When the muscle in the joint is overworked, it becomes tight, causing tension, pain & headaches.
Mild bruxism may not require treatment. However, in some people, bruxism can be frequent and severe enough to lead to jaw disorders, headaches and damaged teeth, so it’s important to know the signs and symptoms.
- Tired or tight jaw muscles, or a locked jaw that won’t open or close completely
- Jaw, neck or facial muscle pain or soreness
- Frequent headaches and migraines
- Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to wake you
- Teeth that are fractured or chipped
- Clicking in the jaw just below your ear when you open and close your mouth
BRUXISM TREATMENT OPTIONS
Anti-wrinkle injections are noted primarily for their ability to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. But they can be used for more than just crows feet & frown lines. Another surprising use of the botulinum toxin is for the treatment of the symptoms related to bruxism.
The anti-wrinkle treatment is injected into the masseter muscle, just below your cheekbone, and if required also into the frontalis and temporalis muscles in your forehead and temples.
It paralyses the muscle temporarily and limits the muscles’ full range of movement. This reduces clenching and the accompanying tension aches in the jaw and teeth grinding. The injection into the temporalis muscles helps with the tension headaches and migraines related to clenching of the jaw. It essentially acts as a muscle relaxant and has been proven to relieve muscle-related pain by limiting muscle movement.
BRUXISM SIDE EFFECTS & RISKS
Anti-wrinkle injections are considered a safe and effective treatment with little downtime or side effects. It is a toxin after all, and there are some side effects and risks you need to be aware of.
Common side effect include;
- Pain, swelling or bruising at the injection site.
- Headache or flu-like symptoms
- Eye dryness or excessive tearing
If the injection is not performed correctly, the nearby risorius muscle may be paralysed, leading to an asymmetric/crooked smile.
In some rare cases, the toxin can also spread from the injection site and cause more serious side effects.
If these risks are not explained to you by your chosen injector, it may be time to re-think who you have chosen to perform the treatment.
The masseter muscle acts like any other muscle in the body. When constantly used, it gets bigger and tighter. This results in the jawline becoming more square and masculine, which is a concern for many of my female patients.
After the anti-wrinkle injections, the muscles are no longer overworked and begin to relax. The bonus of this is a sculpted and contoured jawline.
HOW MUCH BRUXISM DO YOU NEED & HOW LONG DOES IT LAST
Many patients report improvement within 3-5 days post-treatment and can expect to have a relaxation of the muscles and decreased pain for approximately 6 months.
The dose used should be decided by an experienced physician and based on the strength of the Masseter muscle before the anti-wrinkle injection treatment. This will differ from person to person.
I typically start with a lower dose to ensure that the symptoms of bruxism are treated, but the patient’s physical appearance is not changed too drastically. I ensure the patient is followed up post-treatment to determine if a higher dose is required.
Anti-wrinkle injections are not a permanent solution, and they do eventually wear off. So ensuring you are working on limiting the contributing causes to your bruxism symptoms should be the long term goal.
BE AWARE OF YOUR STRESS & ANXIETY
Stress is a huge component of the onset of bruxism. Strong emotions such as anxiety, anger, frustration, or tension can all be a catalyst to bruxism.
I know it’s been a tough and stressful year for all of us. But ensuring you are aware of your stress and anxiety levels is the first step to maintaining your health and avoiding the onset of bruxism.
Start practising some self-awareness techniques when you feel the onset of stress. Yoga and meditation are my go-to stress relievers. Also getting out into some fresh air and getting a little exercise to burn off your strong emotions is a fantastic way of relieving stress.
Schedule your free no-obligation consultation today
If you would like more information on bruxism and how anti-aging injections could resolve the symptoms, please book your no-obligation consultation today.