Professional treatment for teeth grinding and clenching
If you have a tendency to grind or clench your teeth at night, you have a condition people in the dental profession call Bruxism. This involuntary behaviour can be quite an annoyance for you, and it may even be causing jaw pain, headaches, the wearing away of teeth, reduction in tooth enamel, gum sensitivity, or chipped teeth.
- Jaw pain or tight jaw
- Worn, flattened and chipped teeth
- Increased tooth pain and sensitivity
- Dull headache in the temples
- Biting the inside of your cheeks (caused by tight jaw muscles resulting from bruxism)
Causes of Bruxism
Teeth grinding or jaw clenching can be an inherited trait but is also associated with stress, anxiety, frustration or tension and other conditions such as snoring and sleep apnoea.
The Masseter is the powerful muscle on the side of your cheek that enables you to bite and chew. Medically, a large masseter is associated with teeth grinding and Bruxism, or a pain in your jaw caused by spasm of the muscles.
Aesthetically, the constant tension on the masseter muscle can also cause it to grow or appear more prominent. A large masseter muscle makes your jaw look square. A square jaw can actually look good on some men. But it’s a different matter if it is too square, especially if you are a woman, for it takes away that feminine oval face.
It is likely that the condition will be spotted and diagnosed by you your dentist, at which point they will often recommend a mouth guard, to be worn at night to protect your teeth and prevent further damage.
Another approach is to relax the masseter muscle, and most people would be surprised to learn that Botulinum toxin (e.g. Botox®) is a treatment for Bruxism. Botulinum toxin’s muscle-relaxing properties help stop the jaw clenching and teeth grinding by neutralising the over-activity of the muscle. This treatment can also help to reduce the muscle in size, providing a more relaxed natural oval shape to the face.
If you have a diagnosis of bruxism either by your dentist or doctor then you could consider muscle relaxing injections as part of your treatment.
It is crucial to consult with a specialist in these procedures to achieve the best results. Dr Mette Norup originally trained as a dentist and therefore has the necessary background and expertise to administer Botulinum Toxin injections for bruxism.
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