When you hear about Botox treatments, you may think it’s simply a way to get rid of wrinkles.
But botulinum toxin injections can serve as more than just a cosmetic treatment.
Botox injections are effective for treating medical conditions such as:
- cervical dystonia
- chronic migraines
- bladder dysfunction
- abnormal muscle spasms and twitching
- crossed eyes
- excessive sweating
And when injected into the masseter muscle (the primary muscle used for chewing, connecting your cheekbones to your jawline), Botox can also help reduce teeth grinding (also called bruxism).
What is Botox?
Botox is the most popular brand of botulinum injection.
It’s made from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.
In small doses, this toxin can be used to temporarily paralyze muscles by inhibiting the release of acetylcholine – a neurotransmitter that’s necessary for muscle contraction and glandular secretion.
It’s a minimally invasive procedure that can be done in an ordinary doctor’s office and can provide relief from symptoms for several months.
How Botox Can Help With Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding (bruxism) is a condition that’s characterized by clenching or grinding your teeth, often during the night.
It can sometimes be caused by stress or anxiety. Some drugs, such as nicotine and amphetamines, can also contribute to teeth grinding. Researchers suggest it is likely related to a disturbance in the central neurotransmitter system.
It commonly happens at night while you are asleep, but it can also occur during the day, sometimes without you even realizing it.
Teeth grinding can cause several problems, such as:
- jaw pain
- tooth damage
- temporomandibular disorders
- breakage of dental restorations
Botox injections can safely and effectively help to relieve the symptoms of teeth grinding by relaxing the muscles in your jaw and reducing the clenching and grinding reflex.
How Botox Injections Are Done
After an initial consultation with your doctor about the risks and potential benefits of masseter botox treatments, they’ll examine your face and jaw to determine the best injection sites.
For the procedure, they’ll begin by cleaning your skin with an antiseptic solution to prevent infection. Using a syringe with a very thin needle, they’ll carefully inject small amounts of botulinum toxin into the masseter muscle on both sides of your face.
The entire procedure usually only takes about 15 minutes. You won’t need to be hospitalized or put under general anesthesia.
Over the next day or two, you’ll need to be extra careful about avoiding touching the area or putting any pressure on it. Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions on how to care for the injection sites and when you can resume your normal activities.
The procedure is considered safe but may sometimes cause side effects, including:
- pain or swelling
- weakened smile
- flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, body aches)
Ask your doctor about the potential risks and side effects before you undergo treatment to make an informed decision regarding whether or not it’s the right choice for you.