According to the Sleep Foundation, up to 50% of children experience sleep bruxism, around 15% of adolescents do, and around 8% of adults experience the condition . Bruxism, when someone has an involuntary habit of clenching and grinding their teeth, can lead to chronic pain. The good news is that there are things that can help with the condition. One of the most recent findings on what can help points to the use of low-dose botulinum toxin A to bring relief.
Some people experience bruxism while they are sleeping, while others tend to do it during awake hours. The continuous grinding and clenching of the teeth can lead to more serious issues, including a condition called temporomandibular disorder. This condition impacts the nerves that are linked to chronic facial pain.
Researchers set out to see if using botulinum toxin could help bring relief for the chronic pain that those with bruxism and temporomandibular disorder experience. Botulinum toxin type A, which is a medicinal form of Botox, is a neurotoxin that paralyzes the nerves that are involved. The findings of their study are published in the September 2021 issue of Cranio: The Journal of Craniomandibular Practice .
In the study, 35 patients with chronic pain from sleep bruxism, awake bruxism, and temporomandibular disorder participated. The participants each received a single dose of low-dose botulinum toxin type A in their cheek muscle. The participants were given a pain assessment before receiving the treatment, as well as after 15, 30, 60, 90, and 180 days.
Like what you’re learning? Download a brochure for our online, postgraduate pain medicine certificate or master’s degree program in partnership with the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
What the researchers found was that after 15 days, there was a decrease in chronic pain with all three of the conditions. Those who experience awake bruxism and sleep bruxism had the most chronic pain relief, with it lasting for up to 90 days after receiving the treatment. Those with temporomandibular pain sustained a decrease in chronic pain only for the 15 days.
The researchers concluded that using a low-dose botulinum toxin type A can help control chronic pain for those who have awake bruxism and sleep bruxism. The results were not as promising for those with temporomandibular pain because the benefits were short-lived. This study brings hope to those who suffer from bruxism, offering an option to help get relief from chronic pain.
This study supports a prior study covering the same issue, with the results published in the October 2020 issue of the Journal of the Korean Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. In that study, researchers concluded that botulinum toxin was an effective treatment for those who have sleep bruxism and temporomandibular myofacial pain.
Earn an Online Postgraduate Degree in Pain Medicine
Like what you’re learning? Consider enrolling in the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC’s online, competency-based certificate or master’s program in Pain Medicine in partnership with the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
- Sleep Foundation. Bruxism: Teeth grinding at night.
- Cranio: The Journal of Craniomandibular Practice. Is low dose of botulinum toxin effective in controlling chronic pain in sleep bruxism, awake bruxism, and temporomandibular disorder? September 2021.
- Journal of the Korean Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Efficacy of botulinum toxin in the management of temporomandibular myofascial pain and sleep bruxism. October 2020.