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Stop the Nightly Grind

Neurotoxin for Jaw Pain “Bruxism” is a sleep related disorder that results in the clenching or grinding of your teeth at night unbeknownst to you while you sleep. Of course, jaw clenching or grinding can also occur during wakeful hours and is usually associated with feelings of anxiety or stress.

It can start early in childhood (see in as many as 30% of children) and carry on into adulthood. Approximately 8 to 10 percent of adults have self-reported sleep-related bruxism, but many people are not even aware they are doing it.

If you are lucky, you can be asymptomatic and you may only be made aware of your condition when damage to your teeth has been found on your routine dental exam. However, if you are like me and many, many unfortunate clients in our office, you are symptomatic and have become very familiar with the fallout from your nightly grind.

Symptoms of bruxism can be mild to severe. They can significantly and adversely impact your quality of life.

Signs and Symptoms include:

* Headaches

* Jaw pain

* Jaw clicking

* Tooth destruction (resulting in costly dental work for restoration)

* Injury to the soft tissues of the mouth (bite marks on tongue or cheeks)

* Changes in bite * Difficulty chewing * Jaw locking

* Masseter hypertrophy (increased volume of the masseter muscle)


What causes bruxism? 

There are several risk factors that increase teeth grinding and/or jaw clenching.

Bruxism has been associated with:

* Obstructive sleep apnea

* Snoring * Heavy alcohol use

* Caffeine intake

* Smoking

* Anxiety

* Certain medications (amphetamines, antipsychotics, SSRIs, etc)


How is it treated?

The mainstay of treatment is an oral device called an occlusal splint that is fitted by your dentist to protect your teeth from continued damage. These devices can be costly and are easily lost or broken. Additionally, many users find that they do not help with the pain that results from nightly bruxism.

Other therapies include drugs like benzodiazepines (clonazepam or diazepam), or beta-blockers to inhibit bruxism. Of course, they have their own side-effects like somnolence, fatigue, memory impairment, and impotence.

Alternative therapy treatments include chiropractic adjustment, massage (inside and outside the mouth), and acupuncture.

In our office, we are well acquainted with the benefits of neurotoxin (Botox or Dysport) injections and it may surprise you to know that those benefits are not limited to the eradication of frown lines or crow’s feet. Not at all. For some of us, the most sought after benefit from neurotoxin injections comes in the form of headache and jaw pain relief.

Neurotoxin injections into the masseter muscles of the jaw can provide symptomatic relief from bruxism. It works by decreasing the strength of the jaw muscle and lessening the muscle contractions. In some instances, there is the added bonus of cosmetic improvement that comes from softening the large (or hypertrophied) masseter muscle. This helps restore the sought after, youthful, upside down triangle shape of the face.

The amount of neurotoxin units needed to effectively treat this area is typically 60 to 100 units. Treatment doses on the lower end are used for symptomatic relief and doses on the higher end are needed for cosmetic outcomes. Pain can be improved within 1 week and jaw slimming may be seen in 1 month. Injections are typically done every 6 months.

Beauty and vitality go hand in hand in our office. Neurotoxin treatment to alleviate jaw pain is just one example of how we can help you achieve your goals.

Krissi Reeber, PA-C Krissi Reeber, PA-C, is a beloved certified physician assistant working at Weight Loss and Vitality in Alexandria, Virginia, and Washington, DC.In her role, she works closely with the physician's to offer compassionate and comprehensive care to patients. She’s trained in noninvasive, in-office procedures to enhance the body and face along with optimizing intimate wellness of both males and females. Krissi’s love for knowledge is evident through her impeccable academic record. She received two bachelor’s degrees with highest honors from the most prestigious universities in Florida. Following this, she pursued a Master of Arts in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education from the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada, graduating with highest honors. Krissi also decided to earn another master’s degree at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida, where she graduated in the 99th percentile of her physician assistant class.

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