It’s no fun waking up with headaches, a sore jaw, straight teeth turning Jack-O-Lantern-level jagged, tooth pain, a pronounced, muscular jaw. The culprit? If you guessed teeth grinding, then, well, you know! Officially dubbed bruxism, some say the pesky habit is a stress-induced rite of passage into adulthood. Others know that it can also be caused by a simple combination of physical, psychological and genetic factors. No matter the reason, roughly eight percent of the population experiences grinding at some point. It can be a true disruptor of sleep and overall lifestyle. Until the last five years, solutions were limited to popping a muscle relaxant before bed, taking anti-anxiety meds, wearing a mouthguard, or even the tedium of practicing various oral positions. But times have changed — just when you think Botox couldn’t be more of a supershero, the muscle-freezing secret agent swoops in to the rescue yet again! As it turns out, more and more people are turning to their dermatologists, plastic surgeons — even dentists — for nighttime relief from their detrimental unconscious habit. We got the full scoop on how Botox can help stop teeth grinding from Dr. Nancy Samolitis of Facile Dermatology + Boutique, who is actually saving people from themselves almost every day.
Can Botox Stop Teeth Grinding? Here’s The 411
by Bee Rose
How exactly does Botox prevent teeth grinding?
We use Botox to relax the masseter muscle, which is the muscle that you can feel activate when you bite down and grit your teeth. This muscle is often overdeveloped and excessively strong in people who grind their teeth — just like any muscle grows with ‘exercise’. When we relax the muscle, it becomes weaker and helps people to grind less aggressively.
Does it really work for everyone who grinds?
Just like with any Botox, some people get better results than others. It really depends on how much they are using that muscle to grind or if they are also using other muscles to clench. We may have to follow up a few times to assess the results and can sometimes add Botox to other muscles to perfect it. Some people have a clicking or popping of the joint and using Botox doesn’t help at all with that.
Is there a noticeable difference aesthetically since the muscle is weaker?
Yes, as the muscle is weakened, it shrinks — just like any muscle that stops exercising. Many people like the slimming effect it can have on the face. The change is more noticeable in someone who has a very large and strong muscle at baseline.
Can you still chew something tough, like a steak?
Yes — because we are making the muscle ‘average’ strength instead of overdeveloped, chewing and normal activities are not affected.
How often are you performing Botox for teeth grinding? Is it popular?
It’s become very popular, so we do it almost every day at Facile.
How often is it necessary to visit the good doctor to replenish?
Results can last between 3 and 6 months. If someone is able to break the habit of grinding, the results can last longer because you won’t be ‘exercising’ the muscle back up to its original size.
How much is the ballpark of costs to get these muscles frozen and find relief?
Since it’s a fairly large muscle, it requires a larger amount of product. Botox for teeth grinding can cost $300-$900 on average.