Botox Treatment For Bruxism

Botox BruxismBotox is becoming a promising and simple treatment to help people with severe bruxism. Known for its cosmetic effect on wrinkles, Botulinum Toxin A (Botox) was actually first used to treat involuntary muscle tension and spasms. And since bruxism is the unconscious clenching of the teeth, it only makes sense that more and more research is being done on Botox and bruxism.

Botox injections weaken the masticatory muscles just enough to reduce bruxism. And it still allow you to chew, talk and smile normally.

For the past 20 years, Botox as a bruxism treatment was reserved for special cases. For example, people with autism or amphetamine addicts who had difficulty wearing a night guard when sleeping. That is to say, wearing a custom night guard is still the first step to treat bruxism. But since those patients couldn’t wear a night guard, they were treated with Botox injections. And research show their botox treatment successfully reduced bruxism. [1][2]

You should first try a custom night guard before thinking about Botox treatments. But if wearing a night guard doesn’t improve your bruxism, Botox could well be the solution.

One study shows that Botox “reduces the frequency of bruxism events, decrease bruxism-induced pain levels and satisfy patients’ self-assessment”.[3] In comparison with a custom night guard, Botulinum Toxins are equally effective on bruxism. In another study, all patients treated with Botox have declared “a good/very good improvement in symptoms.[4] Overall, studies support the efficacy of Botox to reduce pain in the muscles of the jaw.[5]

What Is The Botox Dose For Bruxism?

In most case, a dose of 40 units of Botox on both sides will help reduce bruxism. Mild bruxism can be dealt with 25 units on both sides, but most people need a higher dose. If your masseter muscles are hypertrophied, you might need more than 40 units for your first treatment.

Any Side Effects?

No significant side effects were seen in any of the studies.[6] Some small temporary side effects include: soreness and bruising at the injection site, and with large dose, diffusion to superficial muscles of the face can result in a “fixed” smile for about 6 to 8 weeks.[7]

 How Long Does The Effect Last?

New Botox injections are periodically needed to treat bruxism. Duration of one treatment can last from one month [8] to 26 weeks, with the average being four months.[9]

 What Is The Cost Of Treating Bruxism With Botox?

The cost of Botox treatment vary greatly depending on the doctor or dentist you visit. Prices can range from $250 to $800. Cost is an important factor, but make sure first and foremost to choose a doctor with prior experience with bruxism and Botox.

  1. I paid $600 to get botox injections to stop my bruxism. It did reduce it a little bit for two months. But it turns out my teeth grinding at night was caused by me suffering from sleep apnea without knowing it. Make sure you don’t suffer from sleep apnea before getting botox treatment. Otherwise, you may be paying for nothing!

    • Thanks for the comment. I suffered from sleep apnea and tried all of the recommended procedures (cpap, sleeping on side, neck support pillow…). Ironically it was the bruxism that bothered me the most (daily headaches, jaw and tooth pain). I got my weight down to a healthy zone, had several surgeries after cpap didn’t seem to work after wearing it all night for several months (I had a very large uvula, deviated septum, enlarged turnbinates and my tonsils eventually enlarged). My latest sleep study indicated that I do not have sleep apnea any longer (AHI <1). I am left with the bruxism habit at night and finally found a dentist that administers Botox for bruxism. This has helped me tremendously as I have cracked teeth (with a nightguard) due to the intensity of my grinding. I agree that if you grind your teeth it may be related to sleep apnea and you should have a sleep study to rule it out (bruxism may also be related to stress or crooked teeth). I disagree that you may be paying for nothing since significantly reducing the grinding should help the person feel better during the day even if they have sleep apnea. This may in turn allow them to begin exercising to de-stress and loose weight. I have read that loosing weight, so that you are in a healthy zone, can cure sleep apnea since there is less weight around the neck and fatty deposits on the tongue allowing the airway to have more room for breathing.

    • I realize this is an old post, what I found is the opposite. If you have bruxism you most likely have sleep apnea. Your brain triggers the grinding/clenching motion because you’ve stopped breathing in your sleep. The grinding action actually moves your jaw forward to open up your airway so you can breathe. It goes hand in hand in most cases.
      I’ve ruined my back molars from clenching even with a mouth guard. If Botox helps with the clenching I’m in. Who has thousands and thousands of dollars to repair teeth? I don’t unfortunately. It’s a great preventative solution I think.

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The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should consult with a healthcare professional if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.