How to use Botox to fix jaw clenching and teeth grinding

Otherwise known as Bruxism, regular teeth grinding and jaw clenching is not only painful, but can have long term effects on other areas of your health. But a quick injection could help ease pain, while giving a surprising facial-slimming side effect. We put it the test. 

Are you clenching your jaw as you read this? Or perhaps you grind your teeth in your sleep? Bruxism, a.k.a. regular teeth grinding and clenching, typically manifests as a physical side effect of stress and can lead to temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ or TMD).

And while a little jaw niggle here and there may sound like nothing to worry about, the potential side effects are a little more concerning.

The TMJ sits in front of each ear and connects your lower teeth to your skull. Repeated tension and abnormal movement in this joint can lead to jaw clicking, headaches, neck pain, poor posture, and can also contribute to accelerated ageing and a lopsided face.

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How does Botox cure bruxism?

When it comes to treatment and management, traditional approaches include physiotherapy, massage and even visiting your dentist. But there’s a new quick-fix alternative, and it comes in the form of an injectable. According to Natalie Abouchar, founder of Sydney’s Privée Clinic, neurotoxin injections are the gold standard in preventing both clenching and grinding. “By injecting these into the masseter muscle of the jaw [responsible for grinding, clenching and chewing], we can reduce the over-active muscle action, but still maintain normal function. The neurotoxin blocks the nerve impulses to the muscles, which inhibits the muscle contraction,” she explains.

Once the tension has been released, the injections also work to slim the face. “Often patients can have an over- exaggerated wide lower face or square jaw, so this treatment can help slim and change the facial shape to be more oval,” says Abouchar.

When can I expect results?

You can expect results to kick in within a couple of weeks. “The patient should experience an improvement in symptoms, including a reduction in headaches and tension through the jaw and neck, and improvement in clenching and grinding within the first two weeks. With facial slimming taking six to eight weeks to kick in after the treatment.”

I put it to the test

I’m a migraine sufferer and also have heavy bouts of neck, shoulder and upper-back pain. For the past few years I’ve noticed tightening and tension in my jaw. Usually I head to my physiotherapist for a pretty hardcore neck and jaw massage every few weeks to release aches and increase mobility. But when I read about Botox being an effective treatment to help reduce clenching and pain for up to six months, I was in.

The injections are quick and feel like a tiny pin prick. The amount of Botox injected will depend on your injector and if you need jaw slimming. After a couple of weeks I notice a difference in the tension and a reduction in aches. Two months later, the clenching, neck pain and headaches have reduced significantly.

Bruxism Injections, from $500 at Privee.