Can BOTOX Stop Excessive Teeth Grinding?
Bruxism. It’s a word many people probably don’t know, but it’s an issue many people deal with. Maybe you feel the results of bruxism: a sore jaw, bite marks on the insides of your cheeks and flattened or chipped teeth. That’s because many people, without even knowing, experience bruxism, also known as excessive teeth grinding.
If you suffer from excessive teeth grinding, you might feel concerned about it and seek help. As it stands, there are no officially recognized treatments for it. Sure, a properly fitted mouthguard may treat the symptoms of bruxism and provide you with a good night’s sleep, but it doesn’t address the underlying problem. While the debate around safe and effective treatment for bruxism still rages on, some promising research points to an unusual remedy: BOTOX.
When most people hear the word ‘BOTOX,’they immediately think of plastic surgery. Images of their favorite celebrities sporting their amazing, flawless cheekbones on the red carpet dance in their head. While BOTOX is exceptionally effective in the world of plastic surgery, it actually has numerous other medical uses that may surprise you. BOTOX is used to treat a wide variety of issues such as migraines, overactive bladders, and muscle stiffness.
How BOTOX Works
You may know what BOTOX is, but how does it work? Let take a closer look: BOTOX is short for botulinum toxin. Usually, the word ‘toxin’ sets off all sorts of alarms, but here, it actually is a good thing!
It prevents a common neurotransmitter called acetylcholine from being released. Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter responsible for sending signals to your muscle that says “hey, it’s time to move!” When this becomes blocked, the affected muscle can’t contract. It gets “frozen” in place. That is why it’s so popular in plastic surgery; since the muscle can’t contract, it looks tight and youthful.
This is also the reason researchers are curious about its potential to treat bruxism. A recent study produced some interesting results. The study itself was pretty simple: 22 people suffering from bruxism were sampled. They slept overnight in a controlled environment, where the severity of their bruxism could be adequately monitored.
After this initial sleep study, thirteen of them were administered BOTOX directly to their temporal and masseter muscles, which are the muscles we use for moving our jaws. The theory researchers investigated was simple: BOTOX prevented muscle contractions. Bruxism is generally involuntary muscle contraction of the jaw. Therefore, BOTOX should help with chronic bruxism. Sounds promising, doesn’t it?
After the BOTOX and placebos were administered, subjects were called back into the lab 4-8 weeks later. Again, they slept in a controlled environment and had their jaw movement monitored. While more work needs to be done, the results were very promising. The subjects who received the placebo saw no improvement in their bruxism, while the subjects who received BOTOX injections reported noticeable improvements in their condition.
The researchers concluded that the BOTOX treatment “effectively and safely improved sleep bruxism,” as no significant side effects were reported. Unfortunately, twenty-two people are not a lot of subjects. In order for this treatment to be widely embraced in the scientific world, more studies with a larger pool of participants must be conducted. However, the initial results definitely look promising! Soon enough, you may be able to ask your general dentist for some BOTOX without getting a funny look from them.