Bruxism, commonly called teeth grinding, is a dental condition affecting countless individuals worldwide. You may have experienced its effects yourself, perhaps in the form of persistent jaw pain, worn-down teeth or disrupted sleep.
If you’ve sought treatment, you may have been advised to consider a surprising option: anti-wrinkle injections. These injections, typically associated with cosmetic enhancements, have recently emerged as a potential treatment for bruxism.
But is this approach to bruxism treatment founded on hope or hype?
In this article, we’ll delve deep into the science behind anti-wrinkle injections for teeth grinding, their effectiveness and potential risks.
Overview of anti-wrinkle injections and teeth grinding
Teeth grinding can occur due to a variety of factors. While the exact cause can sometimes be challenging to determine, the following are some of the most common reasons:
- stress and anxiety
- sleep disorders
- lifestyle factors
- abnormal bite or missing/crooked teeth
- genetic factors
- other health conditions
If you’re grinding your teeth, you might experience a range of symptoms, from the ones we mentioned in the previous section to severe cases, such as serious dental damage, changes in facial appearance and severe jaw disorders. Conventional treatments for bruxism include dental interventions, behavioural therapies and medications.
Now, let’s talk about anti-wrinkle injections. They are treatments that have been used for decades to address wrinkles and fine lines. When these are injected into a muscle, they block nerve signals in that muscle, reducing its activity and causing a temporary reduction in muscle contraction. This is what leads to a softening of wrinkles and fine lines on your face.
What do anti-wrinkle injections in the masseter do?
If you’re considering anti-wrinkle injections for teeth grinding, you’re probably wondering how they work. The process targets your masseter muscles – the ones you can feel bulging when you clench your jaw or grind your teeth.
When these injections are administered into your masseter muscles, they block the nerve signals that cause these muscles to contract. This results in your masseter’s relaxation, significantly reducing the force with which you grind your teeth.
You might be asking, “Does this weaken my jawline?” The answer is not exactly. Anti-wrinkle injections in the masseter muscle don’t weaken the jawbone itself; instead, they relax the overactive masseter muscle, which could result in a less pronounced jawline due to decreased muscle bulk. However, this effect is often subtle and may not even be noticeable.
You might also be concerned about whether masseter anti-wrinkle injections will make your face sag. While these injections relax the masseter muscles, they don’t cause your skin to sag. Sagging skin is typically a result of decreased skin elasticity or loss of facial fat, not relaxed muscles.
In fact, for some people, masseter anti-wrinkle injections can have a slimming effect on the face. This is because chronic teeth grinding can lead to hypertrophy or enlargement of the masseter muscles, giving a wider, square-shaped appearance to the lower face. By relaxing these muscles, the injections can reduce the size of the masseter muscles, leading to a slimmer, more oval-shaped face.
But results can vary significantly from person to person. What’s most important is that these injections can provide relief from the pain and dental damage caused by teeth grinding.
What’s the procedure?
It’s a straightforward process that involves a few key steps:
- Consultation and assessment. Your journey begins with a consultation with a healthcare professional or cosmetic practitioner experienced in administering anti-wrinkle injections. This is your opportunity to discuss your symptoms, medical history and concerns. The professional will assess your teeth grinding and determine whether you’re a suitable candidate for the treatment (see the last section below for more details). They may examine your face and jaw to gauge the size and strength of your masseter muscles. They’ll also explain the procedure, potential risks, and expected outcomes.
- Injection process. If the doctor deems you a suitable candidate and you decide to proceed, the injection process can begin. You’ll be seated comfortably, and the specialist will clean the area to be treated. The professional will then use a fine needle to inject the product into your masseter muscles. This usually takes just a few minutes per side. While you might feel a slight pinch or discomfort during the injection, the process is typically well-tolerated.
- Aftercare and follow-up. After the procedure, your doctor may advise you to avoid strenuous activity, heat and massaging the treated area for a day or two. Some mild swelling, redness, or bruising is normal, but these effects should subside within a few days.
You should start to notice a reduction in your teeth grinding within a couple of weeks as the product takes effect. This will be where the masseter muscles begin to relax, reducing the force and frequency of teeth grinding.
Your doctor may also schedule a follow-up appointment a few weeks after the treatment to assess its effectiveness and determine whether additional injections are needed.
How long do anti-wrinkle injections in masseter last?
The effects of anti-wrinkle injections in the masseter muscle aren’t permanent; they typically last for a certain period before gradually wearing off. On average, you can expect the effects of these injections to last between three to six months. However, this is patient-dependent. Success factors include the severity of your teeth grinding, the size of your masseter muscles and the exact amount of product used.
After this time, the masseter muscles will slowly regain their original strength, and you may notice the return of your teeth-grinding symptoms. To maintain the results, you’ll likely need to have the treatment repeated. The good news is that with repeated treatments, the results can sometimes last longer. This is because the masseter muscles can become trained to function with less force, which might prolong the period of relief you experience.
As with any treatment, weigh the benefits against the potential risks and costs outlined below. Discuss these factors thoroughly with your healthcare provider to make the most informed decision about your bruxism treatment.
What is the downside of masseter anti-wrinkle injections?
While masseter anti-wrinkle injections can be an effective treatment for teeth grinding, like any medical procedure, they come with potential downsides that you should be aware of.
- Temporary bruising or swelling. One of the most common side effects is temporary bruising, swelling, or redness at the injection site. These effects usually subside within a few days and can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers and cold compresses.
- Although rare, allergic reactions to the components of the injection can occur. Symptoms include itching, rash, redness, or difficulty breathing. If you experience these symptoms after the treatment, seek immediate medical attention.
- Weakening of adjacent muscles. There’s a slight risk that the injections could affect nearby muscles, leading to unwanted muscle relaxation. This could affect your facial expressions or how you chew or speak. However, these side effects are generally rare and temporary when the injections are administered correctly by a skilled professional.
- Rare complications: More severe complications are uncommon but can include infection, nerve damage or problems swallowing. These complications are infrequent, especially when the procedure is performed by a qualified and experienced professional.
Remember, discussing all potential risks and side effects with your healthcare provider before deciding on any treatment is crucial. While many people have found relief from bruxism with anti-wrinkle injections, you should fully understand the potential downsides to make an informed decision.
Candidates for anti-wrinkle injections for teeth grinding
Determining whether you’re a good candidate for anti-wrinkle injections for teeth grinding involves a thorough evaluation by a qualified professional. They typically consider the following factors during this assessment:
Severity of teeth grinding
The severity of your bruxism plays a significant role in determining whether anti-wrinkle injections would be an appropriate treatment. For example, anti-wrinkle injections could benefit you if you’re experiencing frequent, severe teeth grinding that is causing dental damage or significant discomfort.
Previous treatments and outcomes
Your healthcare professional will want to know what other treatments you’ve tried for your teeth grinding and how successful they’ve been. This could include dental appliances, behaviour modification techniques or medications. If these interventions have not provided sufficient relief or have caused undesirable side effects, you may be a candidate for anti-wrinkle injections.
Medical history and contraindications
Certain conditions or medications may increase the risk of complications from anti-wrinkle injections. For example, people with certain neuromuscular disorders, such as myasthenia gravis, or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding may not be suitable candidates. Therefore, providing your healthcare professional with a comprehensive overview of your health status is essential to ensure safety.
Have your assessment at Enrich
Anti-wrinkle injections, while potentially an effective treatment for bruxism, are unsuitable for everyone. Our doctors at Enrich can help you weigh the potential benefits and risks and guide you in making the best decision for your circumstances.
Book an appointment with us today.