Bruxism, also known as teeth clenching or grinding, is a common condition that affects an estimated 30% of the U.S. population. It is considered to be a parafunctional habit, meaning it is not a normal function of the jaws such as eating and talking. Bruxism is involuntary and can be seen as either a rhythmic tapping or sliding of the jaws or a strong muscle contraction, or clench of the jaws. Symptoms may be minimal at first, but if left untreated can compound and cause very severe damage over time. When left untreated, damage can include pain in the face, teeth and TMJ and even headaches or migraines. To add to the pain, severe dental complications such as sensitivity, worn teeth, fractured teeth and dental restorations (like fillings or crowns), bone loss and gum recession can also happen. Although the cause is not completely understood, there are multiple reasons someone may suffer from bruxism, most severely, it can be a sign of undiagnosed sleep apnea. Other common causes include stress or anxiety, overactive muscle function and even some medications. At Pinnacle Dental, we offer several different solutions to help with the cause of and side effects of bruxism.
Bruxism can be split into two major categories, daytime and nighttime, or nocturnal, bruxism. Obviously because you are asleep, nighttime bruxism is thought be completely involuntary. On the other hand, opinions differ but some experts believe daytime bruxism can also be semi-voluntary, meaning the individual is actually controlling or doing the motion out of habit and it can be controlled. Regardless of when the bruxism is occurring, the side effects can be equally as damaging. Both types of bruxism can be triggered from stress or medications. In addition to stress, nighttime bruxism can be a sign of undiagnosed sleep apnea.
Although the entire cause of the bruxism in a patient may be unknown, there are several bruxism treatment options Pinnacle Dental can offer to help ease the side effects and reduce or even eliminate further damage. Historically treatment for bruxism was a night guard. Although this treatment is still used today to help protect the teeth, it does not eliminate the source of the problem. Patients will often still complain of face or jaw pain, even if the teeth are protected. After ruling out serious causes, such as sleep apnea, Dr. Kottman may suggest a non-invasive treatment option, Xeomin®.
Xeomin treatment, a botulinum toxin treatment similar to Botox treatment, is a well-known, non-invasive procedure used to treat wrinkles and cosmetic facial issues by relaxing the muscles responsible for the wrinkles. The relaxing effect that Xeomin has on the facial muscles prompted the idea of using it to treat bruxism. Since bruxism is caused by the continuous contraction of the jaw muscles, injecting Xeomin, or a similar neurotoxin, into the jaw muscles causes those muscles to relax and blocks the nerve signals. The result is a release of the tension in the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) and relaxation of facial muscles.
Because Bruxism is an involuntary behavioral habit, many patients have assumed that they will just have to live with it and its painful side effects. At Pinnacle Dental, we are committed to caring for your overall oral health, and bruxism is something we treat. We have been using Xeomin for bruxism and our patients have seen great results. If you are struggling with the effects of bruxism, contact our office to schedule a consultation and learn if botulinum toxin is a treatment option for you.