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Bruxism (Teeth Grinding) - What can be done?

Stop Bruxism

Bruxism (teeth grinding) refers to an oral parafunctional activity which may occur in most humans at some point in their lives. The main characteristics are grinding of the teeth, and clenching of the jaw.

Bruxism is one of the most common sleeping disorders and causes most damage during sleep. The side to side action puts unnecessary strain on the jaw, which can cause earaches, depression, headaches, eating disorders or anxiety, which often accompanies with chronic stress.

Bruxism is frequently misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all, since it is only one of several potential causes of tooth wear. Only a trained professional is able to tell the difference between bruxing wear and wear caused by a combination of aggressive brushing, acidic soft drinks and abrasive foods.

Why should bruxism be promptly treated?

  • Gum recession and tooth loss - Bruxism damages the soft tissue directly, which can lead to loose teeth and deep pockets where bacteria can colonize and destroy the supporting bone
  • Occlusal trauma - The abnormal wear patterns on the occlusal (chewing) surfaces can lead to fractures in the teeth, which may require restorative treatment
  • Arthritis - In severe and chronic cases, bruxing can eventually lead to painful arthritis in the temporomandibular (TMJ) joints (the joints that allow the jaw to open smoothly)
  • Myofascial pain - The grinding associated with bruxism can eventually shorten and blunt the teeth

There is no single cure for bruxism, though a variety of helpful devices and tools are available.

Some common ways in which bruxism is treated:

  • Occlusal Splints - An acrylic mouthguard to minimize the abrasive action of tooth surfaces during normal sleep. Splints should be worn on a long-term basis (at night only).
  • Botulinum toxin injections, also known as Botox may also help prevent teeth grinding. When injected into a Masseter muscle, main muscle responsible for grinding; it blocks the nerve impulse from reaching that area, resulting in muscle weakness and atrophy (shrinkage). This treatment may break the habit of teeth grinding.


Any adult is able to have injections unless planning a pregnancy, currently pregnant or breastfeeding, have a disorder which affects your nerves and muscles or taking gentamycin, streptomycin, tobramycin, neomycin, kanamycin. Prior to any treatment, our experienced dentists at Drummoyne Dental Practice will need to assess and determine if this is the right treatment for you.

THE PROCEDURE involves several tiny injections directly into the Masseter muscles. The entire procedure takes approximately 15 minutes. There is minimal discomfort during the procedure.

AFTER THE INJECTION you should notice an improvement in your grinding within 2-3 weeks. The effects can last up to 4 months. It is important to realise that results vary from patient to patient. It is also important to note that most patients are not symmetrical and may notice greater benefit on one side.

Most patients have these injections every 4 months initially. The benefits generally last longer with continued treatment and the dose will either be decreased or the time between injections increased.

The costs will vary depending on the amount used and the severity of grinding. An estimate of cost will be discussed with you at your initial consult.