Botulinum for the treatment of nocturnal teeth grinding (bruxism)
Bruxism is the medical term for nocturnal grinding of teeth. A painful temporomandibular joint (TMJ, jaw joint) and damaged teeth are indicators for nocturnal grinding of teeth. The consumption of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine are possible risk factors. Chronic stress or an anxiety disorder are other explanations for this disorder. However, the precise causes have not been identified.
How should a patient with bruxism proceed?
Firstly, a dental or an orthodontal examination is necessary. The dentist should check the alignment of the teeth in the upper and lower jaw. He may confirm the diagnosis bruxism or find another reason for your symptoms. See lists of dentists below: SSO Schweizerische Zahnärzte-Gesellschaft.
Bruxism can be treated with a dental rail or with botulinum
One treatment option for bruxism is a dental guard which is worn at night. It protects the teeth from damage by grinding. Discuss this option with your dentist. If the dental guard does not help, an injection with botulinum into the masseter muscles can alleviate your pain. This medication begins to take effect after one week and lasts for 3 to 6 months in average.
How does botulinum work in patients with bruxism?
Botulinum (used product: BOCOUTURE®) reduces the activity of the masseter muscles which are located at the jaw angles. These muscles allow you to bite and chew. This is how you can feel them working: Place your hand on the cheek in front of the ear and bite on your teeth a few times. Botulinum attenuates the power of these muscles. Obviously, they are not supposed to become too weak to chew your food. At the first treatment, only a partial dose of botulinum is injected. At the follow-up consultation, the treatment will be completed as necessary.
Unfortunately, no reliable information is available on alternative treatment methods such as biofeedback or hypnotherapy.
Note: Health insurance rarely assumes the cost for this treatment, which is normally at the patient’s expense.