Botox, or botulinum toxin, has made its way into many different facets of the healthcare industry over the last several years. Although most people recognize it as an anti-aging treatment designed to relax muscles in the face and reduce the appearance of even significant wrinkles, doctors and researchers continue to discover brand new ways to put Botox to good use – including using it as a treatment for teeth grinding.
Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?
The majority of people who grind their teeth do not even know they are doing it. In fact, in more than 80% of cases, the most significant grinding occurs at night while the individual is fast asleep. There are many reasons for it, but most dentists and physicians blame stress. Some people do not even know that they grind their teeth until they begin to experience the physical symptoms. In milder cases, people might experience jaw pain and tightness. In more severe cases, people might break their teeth, lose fillings, or even grind the enamel on their teeth away to the point that they expose the sensitive nerve to the air.
Popular Treatments for Teeth Grinding
Over the years, doctors and dentists have tried numerous options for treating the effects of tooth grinding. There are numerous devices available on the market today designed to protect the teeth, but the truth is that very few people – especially those who feel a great deal of stress as it is – can fall asleep with some sort of device in their mouths. Other treatments involve harsh options like anti-anxiety and sleep medications. While these can certainly relax people, they can also have a detrimental effect on their lives. Maybe they no longer grind their teeth, but they feel fatigued and exhausted the whole day through, adding to their stress.
How Does Botox Work?
Men and women around the world get Botox injections to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and it works. That is because many of the wrinkles that you see in problem areas like the forehead, around the eyes, and around the mouth come from contracting muscles in those areas, repeatedly, over a long period. Botox actually paralyzes those muscles, which in turn causes the skin resting on top of them to relax. In fact, Botox is a toxin produced by a certain strain of bacteria to block signals from nerves to muscles. Although that sounds scary, Botox is common and incredibly therapeutic in many healthcare settings.
Why Botox Helps Prevent Teeth Grinding
Just as Botox paralyzes facial muscles causing the skin above them to relax and soften, thereby doing away with wrinkles, doctors can inject the same substance into your masseter muscles, which are the muscles that clench your jaw when you chew your food. When you grind your teeth, those muscles are in overdrive. Often, the individual suffering the ill effects of grinding his or her teeth has no control over those muscles and therefore cannot take any action to prevent it. Botox paralyzes the masseter muscles and puts an end to the grinding.
If you grinding your teeth causes you pain or dental injury, then you should undoubtedly do something about it. Fortunately, Botox injections are quick and nearly pain-free, and you can enjoy the results for as long as nine months at a time.