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Aesthetics Practice Today

Anti-Aging Benefits of Relieving Bruxism

Published November 10, 2015 10:27 AM by Mina Grasso
Do you awaken with sore jaw muscles especially after a stressful day? Bruxism is a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. Bruxism can occur unconsciously with clenching of your teeth together during the day or clench or grind them at night (sleep bruxism).

Many suffer from bruxism and don't realize that a multitude of problems, including premature aging of the jawbone can occur over time due to chronic grinding and clenching. Wear and tear of the jawbone breaks down structural support and can lead to dental issues. Loss of approximately 30% of the upper and lower jawbone can occur. Volume loss related to bone creates hollowing of the lower chin, jaw and creates folds and wrinkles. This volume loss creates a more "aged" appearance.

Untreated bruxism can lead to soreness of the jaw, migraine headaches, neck and shoulder pain, vertigo and ringing in the ears.

Patients with bruxism are usually noted to have hypertrophic (enlarged) masseter muscles, which makes the shape of their face appear squarer. In the aesthetic world, we aim for a more tapered, angular "triangle of youth" appearance. 

Neuromodulators such as Botox, Dysport or Xeomin injections can help alleviate symptoms of bruxism by relaxing the masseter muscles. These neuromodulators can relax the muscle so clenching is not so forceful. Treatment of hypertrophic masseter muscles involves a simple office procedure where targeting specific masseter muscles can be injected with doses of approximately 15-20 units on each side of the jaw.

Neuromodulator injections of larger masseter muscles are used commonly in Asia for reshaping the face to be more angular rather than square. Larger masseter muscles may require 20-30 units in order to change the shape of the face.

Successful treatments result when the practitioner is familiar with the functions of the facial muscles and can isolate the specific masseter muscles for injection.  Extreme care must be taken to avoid injection into surrounding muscles, which can result in undesirable appearance. 

Injection of the hypertrophic muscles should alleviate symptoms of the grinding and clenching. Sometimes the temporalis muscles of the temple need to be treated, which are involved in mastication, in order to relieve symptoms.

Bruxism is an important condition to treat in order to prevent a multitude of problems. The treatments are simple and cause no downtime. Most important in men and women treatment can prevent premature aging of the jaw as well as preserve jawline teeth, bone and a youthful appearance.

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    Occupation: Physician Assistant/Nurse Practitioner
    Setting: Miami & Upland, Calif.
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