FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - Teeth Grinding and TMJ Disorder 

 

What causes Bruxism or teeth grinding?

Bruxism "gnashing of teeth" is characterised by the grinding of the teeth and is typically accompanied by the clenching of the jaw. It is an oral habit that occurs in most humans at some time in their lives. In most people, bruxism is mild enough not to be a health problem. While bruxism may occur during the day or night activity, it is bruxism during sleep that causes the majority of health issues and can even occur during short naps. Bruxism is one of the most common sleep disorders. Some bruxism activity is rhythmic (like chewing), and some is sustained (clenching). Researchers classify bruxism as "a habitual behaviour, and a sleep disorder.

How is Bruxism diagnosed?

Most bruxers are not aware of their bruxism, and only 5% go on to develop symptoms, such as jaw pain, migraine and headaches, which will require treatments. In many cases, a sleeping partner or parent will notice the bruxism before the person experiencing the problem becomes aware of it. Bruxism may  be evident by the characteristic facial  shape with a very square masculine looking jaw line in women. The masseter muscles may also be  obviously over developed.

How can the symptoms of Bruxism be helped by Botox injections?

The symptoms that may be improved by Botox include:

  • Migraines triggered by clenching
  • Grinding and clenching
  • Morning jaw soreness
  • TMJ  pain
  • Muscle tension throughout the day
  • Neck pain and stiffness triggered by clenching

What is TMJ or Temoromandibular Joint pain?

Located on both sides of the head at the point where the jawbone meets the skull, the Tempero mandibular joint is used during talking, eating, swallowing, and other everyday activities. If this joint becomes displaced or is overworked through excessive teeth grinding, a person may suffer severe tension headaches, as well as sharp pain in the jaw.

What causes TMJ pain?

TMJ pain is caused by Bruxism which is characterised by the grinding of the teeth and is typically accompanied by the clenching of the jaw leading to morning migraines, headaches, no exact figures on the frequency of bruxism are available as over 80% of all bruxers may be unaware of the habit and the diagnosis is usually made when the teeth are examined by a dental surgeon. For these reasons, estimates of the prevalence of bruxism range from 5% to 20%. Bruxism "gnashing of teeth" is characterised by the grinding of the teeth and is typically accompanied by the clenching of the jaw. It is an oral habit that occurs in most humans at some time in their lives. In most people, bruxism is mild enough not to be a health problem. While bruxism may occur during the day or night activity, it is bruxism during sleep that causes the majority of health issues and can even occur during short naps. Bruxism is one of the most common sleep disorders. Some bruxism activity is rhythmic (like chewing), and some is sustained (clenching). Researchers classify bruxism as "a habitual behaviour, and a sleep disorder.

How does Botox for treating TMJ pain work?

At Emetheni we offer a novel treatment for this condition is to weaken the masseter muscles of the jaw with strategically placed Botox injections which weaken the muscle enough to reduce the effects of grinding and clenching and thus reduce TMJ pain but not so much as to prevent proper use of the muscle. The procedure involves about five or six relatively painless injections and patients start feeling the effects the following day with migraines usually dissipating by the end of the first week. Injections must be repeated every six months but the habit is usually broken after the second treatment. In addition, the treatment can help safeguard dental health, since excessive grinding can result in worn teeth and damaged gums that may require costly treatment. The symptoms that may be improved by Botox injections include:

  • Migraines triggered by clenching
  • Grinding and clenching
  • Morning jaw soreness
  • Muscle tension throughout the day
  • Neck pain and stiffness triggered by clenching

Why is it important to recognise the symptoms and signs of Bruxism?

Bruxism is the leading cause of dental damage and a significant cause of tooth loss and gum recession. It may take years for the first visible signs of worn teeth to appear and the dental bills that follow are usually exorbitant. By treating and recognising Bruxism earlier on, Botox injections can help prevent future dental bills by breaking this habit and the avoidance of future dental bills is possible. Usually two treatment 4 months apart are enough to break the habit.

What effects can TMJ pain have on one's health?

Bruxism can result in abnormal wear patterns of the occlusal surface, loss of tooth structure and fractures in the teeth. With continued Bruxism , over time, dental damage will usually occur Bruxism is the leading cause of dental damage and a significant cause of tooth loss, tooth trauma and gum recession. It may take years for these first visible signs of worn teeth to appear.