BOTOX® has not traditionally been a treatment associated with dentistry, but since dentists have specialised training in the anatomy of the face and mouth, they have the perfect expertise to perform this type of delicate work. Our North Vancouver dental office has dentists who are certified to provide safe BOTOX® injections for both cosmetic treatments (softening fine lines in the forehead, around the eyes, and between eyebrows) and to treat bruxism (teeth grinding).
Bruxism is the conscious or unconscious clenching or grinding of the teeth, primarily while sleeping. This condition affects up to 40 million people in the United States, and is thought to be caused primarily by stress and muscle tension. Severe bruxism can lead to jaw pain, damaged teeth, and headaches.
BOTOX® Versus Conventional Treatment for Teeth Grinding
Bruxism is most commonly treated with a custom mouth guard that the patient wears overnight to protect the teeth from the grinding. The downside is that even a thin custom mouth guard often feels uncomfortable and unflattering. A mouth guard does not address the root cause of the problem, and only protects the teeth without necessarily stopping the other side effects.
BOTOX® treatment is not a cure for bruxism, but it can achieve better symptom control that lasts around three to four months. The treatment works by injecting a small dose of BOTOX® into the muscles that control the jaw to relax the muscle and reduce involuntary grinding. Voluntary muscle movements and facial expressions do not get affected.
How Does BOTOX® Work?
The neurotoxin in BOTOX® works by blocking out signals that control muscle contraction. When BOTOX® is injected it has a temporary partial paralyzing effect that relaxes and smooths out the muscles, and tightens the look of the skin.
Advantages of BOTOX®
BOTOX® is considered a low risk cosmetic treatment. Benefits include the following:
- The effects are temporary. You can try it once and decide whether or not to continue.
- The results are immediate (within a couple of hours or days) with no recovery time needed.
- The procedure is quick (generally only 10 minutes) and non-invasive.
If you suspect you have symptoms of bruxism, discuss it with the dentist next time you’re in for a check-up. If you’re interested in cosmetic or therapeutic BOTOX® treatment, consider adding a consultation to your next appointment. Speak to your dentist to learn more and determine if BOTOX® is right for you.