Dr Jing shares with us her most frequently asked questions about bruxism. Jing has suffered from bruxism herself for many years, and also felt she had a very large face when she was younger before getting treated, 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. I started having this treatments at the age of 18. Treatment involves injecting antiwrinkle injections, also know as muscle relaxants, to 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 issues.
It also slims the overactive muscles and creates a more 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 patients also remove their enamel on their teeth due to this issue and should be referred to a dentist for the issue in their teeth.
Because the treatment slims the masster muscle it is best for those who wants a more slimmer, V- shaped face or want to enhance their cheeks. It is an issue if the patient does not want a slimmer face. If this is the case the patient can consider having dermal filler to keep their face wide
As the lower face shrinks, the cheeks looks 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 patients 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 ear ache and TMJ dysfunction.
TMJ dysfuntion stands for “tempomandibular joint” dysfunction, which is aggravated by overactive masseter muscles. This issue causes pain to the joint next to your ears. Some people even get locking and clicking to their temporomandibular joints in severe cases, which can all be helped.
I have grinding at night which caused severe wear and tear to my teeth enamel and my dentist recommended mouth guard to wear at night. But unfortunately I cannot fall asleep with mouth guard as they are uncomfortable. My problem is solved with masseter injections.
Apart from less jaw clenching at night, those with a wide face who have the muscles treated will get a more attractive face shape, and may also look skinnier.
How often do I need to have it done?
This depends on many factors, your lifestyle, how much you chew, how much you grind 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 it 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 beef jerky, nuts and dried squids (all of them are my favourite), the earlier you need a 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 doing the treatment, the longer it lasts, as other muscles started to overtake the action of grinding and chewing, eg temporalis muscles, symptoms are controlled for longer and the face slimming lasts longer.
As I have been having it for years, I can repeat my treatments between 9-12 months now.
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 assymmetrical or loss of extreme smile, as the relaxant affects a nearby muscle called risorius (which pulls the corner of 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 patient’s anatomy. Even if this happens, it should be able to be avoided with future injections.
In conclusion, a very low risk treatment.