Grinding Your Teeth May Be Painful and Cause Injury – But There May Be a New Treatment…Botox!

If you can believe it, grinding your teeth, or bruxism, occurs in about 50% of the population. For 80% of sufferers it does not cause a problem but in the other 20% it can cause significant discomfort, including:

1)  Morning headaches and neck pain

2)  Potentially serious damage to your teeth

3)  Jaw pain/soreness

4)  Earaches


There are many treatments for bruxism.  One is as simple as training yourself to keep your tongue between your teeth to relax your jaw during the daylight hours.  Another option is to consult with a dentist, who can create a custom mouth guard, potentially a very effective treatment.  In my Charlotte office, I highly recommended a talented dentist named Dr. Patrick Broome, who can create custom night guards for patients with bruxism.

One of the main uses of Botox or Dysport in my Charlotte practice is in the treatment and/or prevention of facial wrinkles.  These medications are injected into different muscles of the face to weaken them.  A weakened muscle is therefore not able to create the line or wrinkle.

We can also use the effects of Botox, a muscle weakener, in the treatment of teeth grinding.  If the muscles that were responsible for teeth grinding were weakened, it should theoretically improve the condition.  In two new studies, Botox was injected into the masseter and temporalis muscles, the two major muscle groups causing the teeth to grind.  The study found that weakening these muscles was a safe treatment of bruxism.  Two patients experienced a temporary cosmetic change in their smiles.

Another common use of Dyport or Botox in my Charlotte office is to shrink an enlarged masseter muscle.  I believe the masseter muscle is commonly enlarged in patients that grind their teeth.  Many of these patients have the signs or symptoms of bruxism.  An enlarged masseter creates the appearance of a large and wide jaw that creates a masculine appearance.   In females, I commonly inject the masseter to shrink it in order to create a more proportional feminine face.

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