Over time, your jaw joint is subjected to repeated stresses and strains from chewing, talking, tooth grinding and habitual clenching. Teeth grinding and clenching are collectively known as Bruxism, frequently a symptom of physical or emotional stress, but can also be because that is the way you are genetically hard-wired. Bruxism causes excessive wear and damage to your teeth. This often results in cracks, badly worn teeth, jaw and facial pain, as well as headaches.
Sometimes you’ll be clenching and grinding your teeth at night unbeknownst to you. Our experienced dentists can examine your mouth for signs of this during your appointment. These include:
- Patterns of wear on your teeth
- Clicking jaw joints
- Bite marks on your inner cheek
- Tooth sensitivity
- Fractured enamel
- Receding gums
The first step we take in managing this problem for you is looking at your lifestyle assessment to see if this is a temporary or more permanent problem. If lifestyle changes and stress management has been unhelpful, the next step is providing a custom bite splint. This helps prevent premature destruction of your teeth and relieves your jaw from extra stress.
Muscle Relaxant Injections into Clenching Muscles
Patients with long term habitual clenching find it very hard to stop. When bite splints have only offered a limited improvement to symptoms, we can offer muscle relaxant injections into your clenching muscles e.g. masseter and temporalis muscles.
This decreases the muscle activity of your jaw, making those muscles less powerful. This does not affect your ability to chew, it simply means your jaw muscles are less forceful. Our patients who undergo this treatment report benefitting from:
- Fewer headaches
- Improved sleep
- Decreased tooth sensitivity
- Relaxed facial muscles
We deliver this treatment via means of a series of small injections into the jaw muscles. This treatment needs to be repeated every 3 to 4 months for the ongoing relief of symptoms. This is not necessarily a forever treatment but incredibly useful to help achieve a normal balance in your jaw function. Dr Aden Tran leads our practice in this advanced area of jaw clenching management, with a loyal following of patients who have benefited from this treatment. He has been highly successful in treating patients who suffer from this stressful condition, from teenagers to adults alike.