The masseter muscle, which contracts when we bite, is the most powerful muscle in our bodies (adjusting for size). The effects can cause loss of teeth, failure of dental restorative work and chronic facial pain. There is also an association with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), a condition where the upper airways become intermittently obstructed during sleep, leading to loud snoring and poor quality sleep (for all in the vicinity) and is in itself detrimental to health.
For most bruxists, teeth grinding occurs at night and they may not even be aware of it, although some people can be daytime clenchers and some people do both. The cause of bruxism isn’t clearly understood but genetic factors are thought to play a part and certain personality types may be predisposed. Additional factors such as depression, stress, alcohol, caffeine, smoking and certain drugs (both illicit and prescribed) may exacerbate the condition.
Management has historically been centred around the wear of an occlusal splint. This device is clipped onto the teeth at night, helping to redistribute the force of the contracting muscles to reduce the erosion of the occlusal surface of the teeth. This is only helpful for nighttime bruxism and can cause a space to open up between the upper and lower front teeth.
Botulinum toxin (Botox) can be used as an effective alternative or adjunctive treatment for bruxism. Whilst occlusal splints reduce the wear to teeth, the repetitive exercise to the muscle, increases its strength and sometimes its size (leading in some cases to a bulky jawline). The advantage of botulinum toxin is that it actually reduces the power of the muscle for the duration of its action (approximately 3 months) thereby breaking the cycle and reducing the overraction and size of the muscle. Botox has also been used for treating medical problems such as dystonia (involuntary muscular spams) for which I run a clinic in my NHS practice, although it is best known to many as a treatment for wrinkles in facial rejuvenation, which I offer at Midland Aesthetic Clinic.
To find out more about any of the treatments or to discuss professional-level skincare, please get in touch:
Contact No: 07548 964367
You can visit my Instagram page here
Read more from: Sen Lifestyle