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Bruxism (Teeth Grinding) FAQs

Our injector, who has suffered with bruxism for years, shares with us her most frequently asked questions about bruxism. Our injector felt she had a very large face when she was younger before undergoing treatment, so she is quite passionate about masseter injections for bruxism.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is the involuntary habitual grinding of the teeth, typically during sleep. Treating bruxism is one of my favourite treatments to do. I started having this treatment at the age of 18. Treatment involves injecting anti-wrinkle injections, also known as Botox or muscle relaxants, into the muscles at the side of the face, called masseters.

The injections stop the masseter muscle from working and causes shrinkage of the muscle. This relieves the jaw pain and headaches that can be associated with this issue. It also slims the overactive muscles and creates a slimmer, oval, V-lined shaped face.

Who is Suitable?

Anyone who has overactive muscles and pain in their jaw or associated headaches due to the clenching. Some clients also remove their enamel on their teeth due to this issue and should be referred to a dentist for the issue with the teeth.

Because the treatment slims the masseter muscle it is best for those clients who want a slimmer, V - shaped face or want to enhance their cheeks. It is an issue if the client does not want a slimmer face. If this is the case the client can consider having dermal filler to keep the face looking wide.

As the lower face shrinks, the cheeks look more prominent. We can control the area of the face and amount we want to shrink to a certain degree, and we can also improve symmetry of the masseter muscles. It is very common for clients to have one side which is more overdeveloped than the other and we will address that issue.

What are the Other Benefits of Bruxism treatment?

Masseter injections are used medically for bruxism, or teeth grinding, which can be involuntary at night, and earache and TMJ dysfunction.

TMJ dysfunction stands for "tempomandibular joint" dysfunction, which is aggravated by overactive masseter muscles. This issue causes pain to the joint next to your ears. Some clients even get locking and clicking to their temporomandibular joints in severe cases, which can all be helped.

Some clients have teeth grinding at night which can cause severe wear and tear to the teeth enamel. Dentists usually recommend wearing a mouthguard at night but unfortunately many people find them too uncomfortable to sleep in them. This problem can be solved with masseter injections.

Other than less jaw clenching at night, those with a wider face who have their masseter muscles treated will get a more attractive face shape, and may also look slimmer.

How often do i need to have it done?

This depends on many factors, your lifestyle, how much you chew, how much you grind your teeth at night, your metabolism, the initial size of your masseter muscles, and your desired results. In the first treatment stage, we may inject every 8 weeks to relax the muscles until we get the desired results, and symptomatic relief.

Once the maintenance stage is achieved, it usually lasts 3-4 months initially. The more you chew, eg nuts, raw veg etc, the earlier you need re-treatment. Also the more you grind at night, which cannot be controlled, the earlier you need a top up.

The good news is, as we repeatedly perform this treatment, the longer it lasts, as other muscles start to overtake the action of grinding and chewing, eg temporalis muscles, symptoms are controlled for longer and the face slimming lasts longer. Most clients find once they are in a regular routine, they can go between 9-12 months before needing to repeat treatment.

Are there any Side Effects?

Mild pain and bruising can be experienced at the time of injection. Initially as the muscles weaken, chewing can be an effort. This is usually well tolerated.

The rare side effect of paradoxical bulging of muscles, can be simply corrected with a small dose of antiwrinkle injections.

Very rare side effects include asymmetrical or loss of extreme smile, as the relaxant affects a nearby muscle called risorius (which pulls the corner of the mouth up when we smile). These problems are self-limiting and resolve completely with time. This issue depends on the dose and how the injector has placed it and also the client's anatomy. Even if this happens, it should be able to be avoided with future injections.

In conclusion, a relatively low risk treatment.

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