A lot of us grind our teeth throughout the course of the day, usually out of anger or stress or during moments of intense concentration. It is easy enough to stop when we are aware what we are doing. The same cannot be said for grinding in our sleep. Bruxism, the technical term for grinding, affects 10% of American adults and as many as 15% of children. Left untreated, bruxism can lead to tooth decay and headaches, as well as damage to muscles around the face. It can also lead to obstructive sleep apnea, which has been linked to elevated inflammation levels, oxygen deprivation, and increased stress of the heart.
While the exact cause of bruxism is unknown (it has been associated with everything from daytime stress and anxiety, to snoring, alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and antidepressant use), tight jaw muscles and sensitive teeth are often a good indicator of grinding, and an appointment with your dentist will be able to determine if bruxism is to blame.
Here at Attune, we use a variety of treatments to put an end to your grinding, while also addressing the damage bruxism has already caused. While a mouth guard is often the go-to method for stopping nighttime grinding, what really sets us apart is our use of Botox treatments to help relax the muscles in your jaw and around your face. By relaxing these muscles, you will be unable to grind while you sleep, leading to a decrease in headaches and tooth pain as well as providing a better night’s rest. Patients notice a decrease in most, if not all, of their symptoms within a week or two of injections, which last between four and six months and do not negatively impact your ability to talk or chew. Using Botox to treat bruxism is a relatively new method, so not many dentists offer it yet. It is important that you ensure your dentist is qualified to do so before seeking it as a treatment option.