Bruxism (jaw clenching & grinding)

Luke regularly uses Botox® injections for patients to help ease a clenching jaw and other symptoms related to it.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is the medical term for unconscious jaw and teeth clenching and grinding, either while awake or asleep, which can lead to physical painful and severe dental problems. Chronic teeth grinding can cause headache, earaches, facial pain, jaw tension and even migraines. Dental problems from bruxism include loss of tooth enamel, increased tooth sensitivity, and flattening and/or chipping of the teeth. Bruxism sufferers who grind and clench their teeth while sleeping frequently wake up with a sore jaw. Hypertrophy of the masseter muscle, which may lead to the appearance of a severe square jaw, is another side effect of bruxism. Treatments with Botox®, can provide tremendous relief from jaw soreness, headaches, and other unpleasant problems associated with Bruxism.

Botox® in vs. conventional bruxism treatments

Recently, Botox® has proven to be an ideal treatment option for targeting and treating excessive muscle activity and spasticity. Many other treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medications and dental devices, do not address the source of the problem. Although dental devices can successfully protect teeth from damage at night for bruxism sufferers, they are ineffective in stopping the painful side effects of teeth grinding.

The procedure

By injecting small doses of Botox® directly into the masseter muscle (the large muscle that moves the jaw), the muscle is weakened enough to stop involuntary grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw. This significantly relaxes the muscle and reduces the wear and tear on the teeth due to grinding. Damage to the TMJ (temporomandibular joint) and headaches should be reduced or eliminated as well. Voluntary movements, such as chewing and facial expressions, are not affected at all by Botox®.

The injections themselves are not particularly painful, but you will experience a quick sensation of pain, similar to an insect sting or prick.


You should remain upright and avoid rubbing or massaging the injection sites for several hours after treatment. This helps prevent the toxin from spreading to other muscles.

People who’ve had Botox® treatment for TMJ can expect to return to their regular activities immediately following treatment including going to the gym; going back to work and drinking alcohol.

Effectiveness of Botox® for Bruxism

Although Botox® injections are not a cure for bruxism, they can effectively control the uncomfortable symptoms better than a nightguard for some patients. Although some improvement can be felt within a day or two of treatment, it usually takes several days to feel relief.

The effects of Botox® injections typically lasts for three to four months.

What is the cost of Botox® in the jaw?

Botox® treatment for bruxism is covered by most insurance companies, please check with your insurer.

Self-pay prices are around £700 – £750 for one round of treatment.

Possible side effects

The possible side effects of Botox® for TMJ treatment are headaches; respiratory infection; flu-like illness; nausea or temporary eyelid droop. These are however uncommon, and Luke will discuss these with you before treatment.

Botox® may cause a “fixed” smile that could last for six to eight weeks. The paralysing effect of Botox on muscles causes this side effect.

There are also other reported side effects linked to the Botox® injection. These generally appear within the first week of treatment and include: pain; redness at the injection site; muscle weakness or bruising at the injection site.


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