Dr. Dan Hillis
Grind Your Teeth at Night? Botox May Help.
Updated: Nov 21, 2019
If you're one of the millions of people who grind and clench their teeth during sleep, an injection of Botox might be the answer.
The condition, called bruxism, can lead to headaches, jaw problems and damaged teeth, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder and dental problems that can lead to disability and adversely impact quality of life. However, research has shown that a shot of Botox into the chewing muscles in the cheek can block the signals that tell these muscles to contract, relieving the grinding and clenching.
By injecting small doses of Botox directly into the the large muscle that moves the jaw, the muscle's relax enough to reduce involuntary grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw. Damage to the TMJ and headaches should be reduced or eliminated as well. Voluntary movements, such as chewing and facial expressions, are not effected at all by Botox.
Botox first made headlines as a treatment for facial lines and wrinkles by relaxing the sub-surface muscles. It's also been used to treat migraines, excessive sweating and muscle disorders, among other conditions.
Other bruxism treatments
Other treatments include a mouth guard worn at night to protect the teeth. We recommend a custom mouth guard that covers all the teeth in either the upper or the lower arch. Generic sports mouth guards are not advised, as they can come out of place, can be very bulky and cause more discomfort than they solve.
Over time, a mouth guard can wear down and lose its effectiveness. If the person stops using the mouth guard, pain and symptoms may return, so it may not be a permanent solution.