What is bruxism?
You know that feeling when you’re lying in bed trying to fall asleep and thoughts are whirling around in your mind? Suddenly you notice a small tension headache around your temples, and you realize your jaw is clenched and your teeth are grinding against each other. This is called bruxism.
Maybe you haven’t experienced bruxism, but if you have, you understand the vicious cycle of grinding followed by headaches. Many people clench their jaw and grind their teeth unconsciously in their sleep, while others clench and grind while they’re still awake.
What causes bruxism?
If you clench or grind your teeth often, it’s likely that you’re dealing with anxiety or stress. An abnormal bite, or a malocclusion is often linked to bruxism as well. Missing teeth, crooked teeth and sleep apnea can also cause bruxism.
What can bruxism lead to?
Anyone who clenches or grinds their teeth at night has felt uncomfortable and sometimes painful effects of this condition. Bruxism can cause:
- Facial pain
- Loss of enamel
- Increased sensitivity
- Severe dental problems
- Flattened or chipped teeth
Is bruxism linked to gum disease?
Absolutely! According to the American Academy of Periodontology, "Clenching or grinding your teeth can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which these periodontal tissues are destroyed."
As bruxism destroys periodontal tissues, this condition can lead to gum disease. Without supporting periodontal tissues, plaque and bacteria have a quick route to the jaw bone. As plaque and bacteria begin to build up, the first stage of periodontal disease (or gum disease) occurs. Gum disease begins with the first stage, gingivitis, progressing to the second stage, periodontitis, and then to the third stage, advanced periodontitis. To prevent gum disease, it’s very important that you treat bruxism as soon as you notice yourself clenching and grinding your jaw during the day or at night!
How does Botox® join the picture?
The health benefits of Botox are often overlooked as many people believe Botox treatments are purely cosmetic solutions. On the contrary, Botox can alleviate chronic clenching and grinding. Botox works by relaxing the muscles where treatment is injected. In the case of bruxism, Botox is injected into the masseter muscle, the muscle responsible for moving (or clenching) the jaw.
With small injections of botulinum (the toxin used in Botox treatments) in the masseter, your jaw muscles can relax significantly, which eradicates the unconscious tendency to clench and grind.
After about 7 to 10 days post-Botox-injection, there will be a noticeable difference in your symptoms. Botox provides relief from jaw soreness, headaches, facial pain, earaches, flattened teeth and many more of the unpleasant symptoms associated with bruxism.
Not only is Botox known to alleviate these uncomfortable symptoms, some people even consider Botox treatments more effective than night guards and other popular bruxism treatments!
Do you think you’re experiencing bruxism?
Do you clench and grind your teeth unconsciously?
Do you ever wake up with tension headaches or notice them throughout the day?
At Periodontal Health Center, we want you to live your best and healthiest quality of life. Don’t allow untreated bruxism to progress to gum disease! If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s time to seek relief. Schedule your complimentary exam or your next appointment with us today.