Teeth grinding is medically referred to bruxism. From time to time, most people probably grind and clench their teeth involuntarily during sleep. Occasional teeth grinding is usually unconscious and harmless. However, when teeth grinding occurs on a regular basis and even while awake, it can damage teeth and cause them to loosen. Other complications like headaches and earaches can also occur. It can also cause pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) area. There is one TMJ on each side of our jaw and this joint acts like a sliding hinge to connect the jawbone to our skull.
The consumption of caffeine and alcohol has been linked to teeth grinding so cutting back on them could reduce the occurrence of this condition. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea could also contribute to teeth grinding. To protect your teeth, your dentist could also fit you with a mouth guard to prevent the damage to your teeth when they grind during sleep.
In terms of medical treatments, Botulinum toxin Type A, Botox for short, is often used to address this condition. It is very effective as the injected toxin relaxes the masseter/ jaw muscles and thus provides relief from chronic teeth grinding and jaw clenching. This treatment also has the effect of softening the contours of the face by reducing the hypertrophied bulge of the masseter. In cosmetic terms, this has often been referred to as jawline/ facial slimming. When combined with the use of fillers for chin augmentation, it helps to create a V-shaped face, a look that is popular among Asians.