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Botulinum Toxin Type A Helps with Bruxism

Botulinum Toxin Type A Helps with Bruxism

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 [1]. 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 [2].

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.

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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.

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  1. Sleep Foundation. Bruxism: Teeth grinding at night.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

This article was originally published on Confronting Chronic Pain by Dr. Steven Richeimer, Director Pain Medicine Master and Certificate.

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Posted: October 23, 2021
<a href="" target="_self">Dr. Steven H. Richeimer</a>

Dr. Steven H. Richeimer

Steven Richeimer, M.D. is a renowned specialist on issues related to chronic pain. He is the chief of the Division of Pain Medicine at the University of Southern California. He has written or co-written a large number of scientific articles about pain medicine. He recently published an instructive book and guide for pain patients. Dr. Richeimer has given numerous lectures to medical and lay audiences throughout the U.S.

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