Teeth Grinding

Teeth Grinding

What is Teeth Grinding?

Most people grind their teeth at some point. This can be caused by anything from stress to genetics. It can lead to hypertrophy of the muscles used to clench the jaw, giving us the characteristic “hamster cheeks”. While a squarer jawline is quite attractive on males, a slimmer defined jaw tends to look more demure and feminine in women.


Teeth grinding and sleep bruxism.  What is it?

Many people grind and clench their teeth during sleep. Occasional teeth grinding, medically called bruxism, does not usually cause harm, but when teeth grinding occurs every night, the teeth can be damaged and other complications can arise, such as jaw muscle discomfort or TMJ pain.

What are the symptoms of teeth grinding?

Most of the time, bruxism is not severe enough to cause major problems. When symptoms do occur they include:

  • Facial pain
  • Headaches—tension headaches from day grinding and morning headaches fornight time bruxism
  • Earaches
  • Damage to teeth: chips fractures, worn enamel, flattened tops, loose teeth
  • Teeth that are very sensitive to cold, heat, or pressure
  • Chewed places on the tongue or cheek
  • Noise from the grinding or clenching that wakes your sleeping partner
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders

Why do people grind their teeth?

Although the exact causes of bruxism are not really known, several factors may be involved. Stress, an abnormal bite, and crooked or missing teeth appear to contribute. There is also some evidence that sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea can cause teeth grinding.

Can certain medications worsen symptoms?

Research has shown that certain medications are known to cause teeth grinding—in particular, some that are used to treat psychiatric conditions.

It’s thought that these drugs cause changes in the central nervous system that lead to teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Examples of such medications include antipsychotics antidepressants, particularly SSRIs like fluoxetine, sertraline and paroxetine

Can teeth grinding be prevented?

Teeth grinding can be prevented with the use of a mouth guard. Stress reduction and other lifestyle modifications, including the avoidance of alcohol and caffeine, may also be helpful.  Treating the masseter muscle with botulinum toxin will also relax the muscle and stop the muscle from fully working and cease the clenching.

How long will the effects of treatment last?

Normally we advise having your masseters treated 3-4 Times a year depending on the severity. We do advise seeking a dental opinion prior to your treatment to ensure that dental malocclusion is not the root cause of your symptoms.

What are the effects?

With advanced techniques and specialised use of Botulinum Toxin, the strength and size of these muscles can be reduced giving a softer angle at the jaw, a less square jaw and a more youthful contoured face as well as relief from teeth grinding. The exact cause of teeth grinding is not totally understood and there are numerous different theories. However, there is a link to breathing airway issues, such as sleep apnea, jaw posture positions, tooth position, dental work that has changed jaw position or tooth positions, abnormal bite, trauma, repetitive strain, lifestyle activities, as well as emotional and developmental issues.

River Aesthetics recommend a treatment using a combination of muscle relaxing injections and jawline slimming.

Expert Comment

Dr Victoria Manning

Teeth Grinding Treatment

“We can help you with your teeth grinding by a small injection of Botox into your master muscles. Our patients are amazed by how much better they feel after this treatment, being pain free for the first time in a long time.”

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