Study Shows Botox Can Relieve Teeth Grinding

Ava Lawson | February 16, 2018 | Posted in News

An estimated 10 percent of Americans involuntarily clench or grind their teeth – a condition known as bruxism. This common disorder can lead to a host of unpleasant side effects that negatively impact health and quality of life. Until recently, most people who suffered with bruxism had one of two choices: wearing a bulky mouthguard during sleep or trying their luck with anti-inflammatory medications. However, the findings of a new Botox study may change the future of teeth grinding therapy. The research, published in the medical journal Neurology, found that Botox injections helped improve bruxism in participants who suffered from severe teeth grinding at night.

This is promising news for the thousands of people who experience bruxism-related earaches, headaches, jaw soreness and other physical complaints. Unsurprisingly, chronic teeth clenching is also associated with serious dental problems including increased tooth sensitivity, enamel loss and progressive wear and flattening of the back molars. While the exact cause of unconscious teeth grinding is still unclear (stress is a known factor), medical experts do know that bruxism is connected to both functional and aesthetic concerns. Both day and evening teeth grinding can result in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder and hypertrophy of the masseter muscle, which often lends a masculine, square-jawed appearance.

Botox for teeth grinding study

Botox is a cosmetic injectable that stops muscles from contracting. Although its applications are increasingly far-reaching, Botox is perhaps best known for its ability to banish facial expression lines, especially those around the eyes and forehead. Based on this same principle of muscle-relaxing action, researchers injected Botox into the jaw muscles of bruxism sufferers, and the results were encouraging.

“Our study is the first placebo-controlled trial of Botox that demonstrates the benefits of this treatment in patients who suffer with severe grinding of the teeth while asleep,” said the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Joseph Jankovic of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “We showed that this treatment is not only effective, but also safe.”

In the study, 22 patients – all of whom suffer from teeth grinding— were monitored at a sleep lab for severity of bruxism symptoms. Thirteen of the patients were randomly chosen to receive Botox injections in their jaw muscles and the rest received a placebo.

The participants were then re-evaluated after 4 and 8 weeks during another evening at the sleep lab. According to Jankovic and colleagues, those who received Botox reported major improvement in their nighttime teeth clenching, describing their disorder as either “much improved” or “very much improved.”

While additional large-scale studies are needed to establish the efficacy of Botox for bruxism, its cosmetic, rejuvenating potential is well established. Botox is the only injectable that has won FDA approval for treating moderate to severe forehead lines, crow’s feet and glabellar lines (“worry lines”) and has been praised for its wrinkle-smoothing effects for years.

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Read More about Botox for Teeth Grinding:

  1. Chicago Tribune, Grind your teeth at night? Botox may help
  2. American Academy for Facial Aesthetics, BOTOX® Treatment for Bruxism
  3. Real Self, Botox Results on Someone with Bruxism?
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