Bruxism is a condition in which patients grind their teeth. It can occur both during the day and at night. It causes headaches, neck aches, back aches and pain or soreness in the jaw. It can also lead to worn, chipped, or cracked teeth and permanent damage to joints of your jaw or TMJ. Bruxism is often caused by anxiety or stress. Crooked or misaligned teeth, as well as sleep apnea may also cause bruxism. Traditionally, mouthguards, acupuncture or surgery were used to treat the condition.
More recently, Botox has been used to treat the Bruxism. Botox, injected into the jaw muscles can stop the muscles from contracting. Recent studies have indicated bruxism patients treated with Botox report their symptoms as much improved compared with patients treated with a placebo.
Botox injections generally take one week to start working and 2 weeks for a full effect. They last on average 12-16 weeks, and slowly wear off. The injections are generally repeated every 3-4 months. Dr. Wolfe at Brooklyn Dental Studio has obtained certification to treat Bruxism using Botox. If you experience headaches, soreness in the jaw, popping or clicking when opening your mouth, neck aches, or have caught yourself clenching or grinding your teeth, Dr. Wolfe will be able to evaluate if Botox is the right treatment for you.
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In addition to treating Bruxism with a mouthguard and Botox, there are several other steps a patient can take to help treat the condition:
- Cut back on foods rich in caffeine, like coffee and chocolate
- Since grinding is worse after alcohol consumption, try to reduce alcohol consumption
- Do not chew gum or other foods that are hard to chew. Also do not chew on objects like pencils
- If clenching or grinding during the day, try positioning the tongue between your front teeth – this often will relax the jaw muscles
- Use a warm compress or washcloth on tbe jaw muscles – hold it against your cheek, in front of the earlobe
- Your dentist can give you exercises that will help relax your jaw muscles