Botox for Teeth Grinding: Side Effects

Botox for Teeth Grinding: Side Effects

The Brux Doc The Brux Doc
5 minute read

Teeth grinding can cause a lot of pain and damage to your teeth, and the symptoms can even extend to head or neck pain, jaw discomfort, and gum disease. So, it’s always important to take action to treat teeth grinding as effectively as possible.

Because bruxism (the fancy name for teeth grinding) can be triggered by stress, many people are able to address the issue to some extent by taking steps to de-stress in their everyday life. However, it is rare to find a complete cure for teeth grinding with any one approach.

So, in recent years, treatment options have expanded to include Botox injections in the muscles around the jaw. Made from a toxin produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria, Botox works by temporarily paralyzing or weakening muscles in the regions where it is injected before wearing off after three to four months.

As you may know, Botox is a popular treatment for fine lines and wrinkles, and it is generally considered safe for use in certain areas of the human body. So, it makes sense that Botox is also becoming a popular option for reducing the jaw tension that contributes to teeth grinding.

And you might be wondering whether it’s right for you and whether there could be any unwanted side effects. So, let’s look at possibilities.

How does Botox work for teeth grinding?

Using Botox for non-cosmetic purposes is not new. In fact, Botox has also been used to treat migraines and muscle disorders. This initial study for teeth grinding is slightly limited because of its small size, but it is promising.

In 2018, the journal Neurology published the findings of a study on Botox for teeth grinding. In the study, participants received either 200 units of the treatment (60 in each masseter muscle and 40 in each temporalis muscle) or a placebo injection. After 4 to 8 weeks of observation, the study concluded that participants who received Botox experienced improvement while the placebo group did not.

While some participants experienced only slight improvement, a substantial percentage recorded that their teeth grinding symptoms with “much improved or “very much improved.” So, research continues in the field and many Botox centers now offer treatments specifically for teeth grinding.

What are the risks of Botox for teeth grinding?

If you’re worried that your jaw will be paralyzed by Botox and you won’t be able to chew at all, have no fear. The muscles of the jaw are extremely strong, and the amount of Botox injected is incapable of paralyzing them. Instead, it serves to weaken their function enough to lower the effects of tension in the area.

That does not mean there are no risks associated with the treatment. Immediate side effects are generally mild. The most common side effect is bruising and tenderness at the injection site. Two people in the study also reported having a lopsided smile that eventually evened out a couple weeks after the procedure.

But long term effects are largely unknown. Researchers at NYU advocate for more research on Botox for teeth grinding in order to make sure that there are no long-term effects of muscle atrophy or loss of bone density. Additionally, in rare cases, Botox can cause an allergic reaction or spread beyond the initial injection site though these effects have not been observed in relation to jaw treatment.

Is Botox for teeth grinding covered by insurance?

Because Botox is a fairly new treatment option, many health insurance plans do not cover the procedure. You will have the best chance of coverage if you have an officially diagnosed issue, such as TMJ, and a recommendation from your doctor to receive Botox treatments.

However, you should always contact your insurance in advance to see what they will cover and whether you need to go to a specific provider. Without coverage, the cost of Botox for teeth grinding can range from $500 to $900, depending on your area.

What are other ways to treat teeth grinding?

Teeth grinding can be caused by stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, certain medications, misaligned teeth, or an abnormal bite. So, treatments vary.

The first step you should take is to see whether any medications you’re taking can cause teeth grinding as a side effect. If so, ask your doctor about other options. You should also visit a dentist to ensure that nothing about your teeth or bite alignment is creating tension in the area. If there’s an underlying alignment problem, you will want to treat that issue promptly to protect your teeth and prevent more problems and pain in the future.

If your teeth and jaw alignment look good. You can explore a number of natural remedies for reducing stress, such as yoga, meditation, and massage. You can also adjust your diet in ways that will help your body sleep more deeply.

Whatever you do, you should always ensure your teeth and gums are protected against the damage that teeth grinding can cause by wearing a night guard while you sleep. Take action and find a custom-fitted option at TeethNightGuard today.

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