Bruxism…this is the medical term for unconscious clenching, gnashing or grinding your teeth excessively. Primarily occurring during sleep but in severe cases also whilst awake. Teeth grinding, or Bruxism is a relatively common condition affecting about 8 to 10% of the population mostly in the 25 to 44-year-old age group. That means It affects about one in four adults!
The pressure on the teeth during grinding can be 20 times greater than the force used in normal chewing and biting.
Symptoms can include:
- Constant teeth grinding causes sufferers to build up their masseter muscle, making their jaw look square in shape
- Gum problems
- Incisors can end up shorter with sharp edges and tiny chip marks, and the canines can be covered in notches
- Teeth can also work loose and fillings be gouged out.
- Damaging and erosion of tooth enamel, increased tooth sensitivity
- Pain/aching in the jaw and or facial muscles
- Tension headaches/migraines
A large number of teeth grinders are unaware or don’t even realise they grind their teeth until told by their partner, their dentist notices the abnormal wear on their teeth at a regular check up or they go to their doctor to get treatment for the mysterious jaw pain and recurring morning headaches.
In some cases, several hours a night can be spend grinding at teeth, usually when either their sleep is disturbed or in the normal course of the shifting patterns of sleep levels, from deep to light. While this may just be a dental problem for the lone sleeper, it can cause real problems in a relationship.
The partners of some teeth grinding suffers report that the noise levels they have to contend with at night are on par with those of a chronic snorer.
“The noise itself is likened to fingernails scraping back and forth on a blackboard – difficult to live with on a long-term basis.”
Treatment for bruxism has been basic, with sufferers usually having to wear a mouth guard. Don’t despair as Clearskincare Clinics are here. In recent years, managing bruxism with cosmetic injectables; has become the leading treatment for patients suffering this condition.
The injections work by temporarily and partially paralysing the masseter muscles and therefore weakening the primary muscle of mastication and significantly reducing the excessive muscle activity. The effects last for about four months. Cosmetic injections are approved for treating the painful symptoms caused by muscle spasticity in 20 different neurological conditions, including stroke and cerebral palsy. A number of studies have shown that this is an effective treatment for bruxism. There are three sets of muscles involved in moving the jaw; these muscles can become overactive, causing the jaw to clench unconsciously. These cosmetic injections cause the masseter muscles to relax and reduce the squareness of the jawline.
“These cosmetic injections cause the masseter muscles to relax and reduce the squareness of the jawline. There are a number of other treatments out there for bruxism, such as dental devices and anti-inflammatory medications, however, these fail to address the actual cause of the problem. “
There are a number of other treatments out there for bruxism, such as dental devices and anti-inflammatory medications, however, these fail to address the actual cause of the problem. Yes, the dental devices may protect teeth from the grinding damage at night, but they fail to stop the resulting headaches/migraines and other painful muscular side effects of chronic teeth grinding. From an aesthetic point of view – masseter hypertrophy (muscle enlargement) causes the appearance of a square, masculine (in females) or even rounded jaw. This is a very common presentation in the asian population.
Those with masseter muscle enlargement are excellent candidates for treatment with cosmetic injections to achieve facial slimming or the ‘V-shape face’. The procedure takes less than 10 minutes and involves 4-5 injections into each masseter muscle. In turn, this relaxes the muscle, reducing teeth grinding/damage, headaches, facial muscular pain and dysfunction of the TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint). With appropriate dosing and technique, voluntary movements such as facial expression and chewing are not affected.
After the initial treatment, follow-up at 3-4weeks is advised and then the injector can evaluate the response. A second treatment is frequently required at the follow-up appointment.
Facial slimming can be noticed starting at 3-6 weeks post-treatment and can last up to 1 year. Re-treatment is required but subsequent doses are progressively reduced and are required less and less frequently. This is due to the continued atrophy (shrinking) of the masseter muscle whilst in the weakened state.