Two studies find Botox injections help reduce nighttime teeth grinding

by Bob Yirka report
Botox

(Medical Xpress) -- Two groups working independently have found that patients who suffer from nighttime teeth grinding, a condition known as nocturnal bruxism, found relief after being injected in their temple and jaw muscles with Botox. Both groups reported on their findings at this year’s American Academy of Neurology meeting.

Many people grind their teeth at night when they are asleep, though some may be unaware of doing so. It’s the degree that matters. Some grind slightly and experience no negative consequences other than annoying their sleeping partner. Other’s however experience much more serious consequences such as teeth problems, jaw and facial pain and headaches. There is currently no known cure for the condition and treatment usually consists of issuing patients mouth guards which do protect the teeth, but don’t alleviate pain or headaches. Patients with severe symptoms clearly need something better and that is why researchers have started looking into the therapeutic possibilities of botulinum toxin, more commonly known as Botox; the very same material used for cosmetic purposes.

In the first study, a team from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, injected 23 people who suffered from severe bruxism. Thirteen got Botox while ten received a placebo. Four weeks later all of participants were tested to see what impact, if any, the injections had had on their and quality of sleep.

Testing results were measured in two ways, via polysomnography and by reports from the patients themselves which also included comments by sleep partners.

Polysomnography is a rigorous set of tests that have been developed for sleep studies with many parameters involved to determine the quality of sleep people experience and also to account for such problems as headaches, pain, or other situations that arise due to sleep issues. In the Houston study, the results of the Polysomnography, called a polysomnogram, were averaged together with numbers given by patients to self-assess their quality of sleep. Taken together the team found the average numbers jumping from 47.3 for bruxism patients to 64.5 after receiving Botox injections. The numbers for the placebo patients didn’t change. In addition, the team found that numbers for pain experienced increased as well, from 44.2 to 65.0 (higher means less pain). Overall, the team says, the results indicated that injecting Botox provided significant relief for all of the patients who received it, while the only side effects were slight changes in appearance for some when smiling.

In the second study, doctors at the Henry Ford Medical Center in Detroit, injected four patients who were experiencing severe bruxism following head injuries, with Botox and reported at the conference that all four showed relief from the condition without any noticeable adverse side effects.

Both groups are careful to point out that much more robust studies will need to be undertaken with the results published in a medical journal before can be claimed to be a true therapy for bruxism. On the other hand, since can already be administered for other reasons, there is nothing stopping doctors from giving patients suffering from bruxism injections right away to try to help them.

Related Stories

Teeth grinding linked to sleep apnea

Nov 02, 2009

There is a high prevalence of nocturnal teeth grinding, or bruxism, in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), particularly in Caucasians. New research presented at CHEST 2009, the 75th annual international scientific ...

Mayo Clinic finds botox eases painful spinal headaches

Apr 14, 2011

A Mayo Clinic case study finds Botox may offer new hope to patients suffering disabling low cerebrospinal fluid headaches. The successful treatment also offers new insight into Botox and headache treatment generally. The ...

Botox reduces wrinkles even in less frequent doses

Apr 26, 2010

Patients can decrease the frequency of Botox Cosmetic injections after approximately two years and still receive most of the same wrinkle-smoothing cosmetic benefits, according to new research at Oregon Health & Science University.

Botox to iron out Australian asthma wrinkles

Jun 28, 2011

It is more celebrity than respiratory, but botox could prove a breath of fresh air for asthmatics if an Australian trial of the toxin launched Tuesday is successful.

Recommended for you

Seniors successfully withdraw from meds

22 hours ago

Elderly people have proved receptive to being de-prescribed medications, as part of a trial aimed at assessing the feasibility of withdrawal of medications among older people.

Flu vaccine for expectant moms a top priority

Sep 18, 2014

Only about half of all pregnant women in the U.S. get a flu shot each season, leaving thousands of moms-to-be and their babies at increased risk of serious illness.

Experts want restrictions on testosterone drug use (Update)

Sep 17, 2014

Federal health experts said Wednesday there is little evidence that testosterone-boosting drugs are effective for treating common signs of aging in men and that their use should be narrowed to exclude millions of Americans ...

User comments