TMD or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder is an acute or chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ; the joint connecting the lower jaw to the skull). The disorder and resultant dysfunction results in significant pain and impairment for many.
Teeth grinding or bruxism is a problem that afflicts a large percentage of Americans. Aggravated by stress, this condition frequently runs in families. People that clench their teeth during the day or at night mostly do so without knowing that they are doing it – they can’t help themselves. Those that only grind at night only know that they are doing it if they wake up with jaw soreness or if their dentist notices that they are wearing down their teeth.
Bruxism and TMD can result in headaches, earaches, facial pain, chipped teeth and chewed tissue on the inside of the mouth. Chronic grinding will often lead to a hypertrophied masseter muscle – the main muscle that is used for chewing. This is a muscle that is located at the angle of the jaw. Grinding builds this muscle and makes it stronger, like lifting weights does for the biceps. The stronger the muscle gets, the more damage clenching causes to the teeth. Headaches and facial pain also tend to get worse with time.
Traditional TMD & Bruxism Treatment
Traditionally, treatment of teeth grinding has been led by dentists. Since malocclusion or abnormal teeth alignment is known to make bruxism worse, one of the first principles of treatment is to optimize the bite. Another common treatment is the use of bite blocks to keep teeth from coming together at night. Unfortunately, bite blocks do not help clenching during the day, and frequently do not work at night because people spit them out due to discomfort.
Botox Injections Give Instant Relief
For the past two years, Dr. Rivkin has been using Botox to treat chronic teeth grinding. Not only are his patients experiencing instant relief from jaw pain, tension and headaches, but they are seeing a dramatic change in the way that their face looks. The square, severe appearance of their lower face softens into a more normal and esthetically pleasing jaw line.
This change occurs over two or three sessions of Botox, as the masseter muscle shrinks. Patients have also reported a marked reduction in their general stress level as their grinding disappears. As they break the habit of bruxism, they regain control of their lives. Botox treatment of teeth grinding is painless and quick (5 minutes). Results from Botox treatment of bruxism start a day or two after injection and last for about 4 months.
During your free initial consultation, Dr. Rivkin will evaluate your unique needs, desired end results, and explain your options. He will also help you determine which treatment, or combination of treatments, will work best to achieve the look that you desire. You will have the opportunity to view before and after photos, so that you will know exactly what to expect.
If you live in the Los Angeles area or if you’re curious and have questions about our non-cosmetic surgery treatments, please contact us today. We will gladly schedule a
free consultation at our Brentwood office.