Botox has long been a treatment option for unwanted lines and wrinkles but initially it was developed for use not in cosmetic medicine but in the medical treatment of muscle spasms. The cosmetic application was developed from this as the usefulness of Botox became clearer. And more recently Botox is recognised as an excellent treatment option for people who are grinding their teeth (the medical term is called ‘bruxism’).
I’ve had an issue with grinding my teeth at night for about a year. I’d wake up every morning with a seriously sore jaw (sometimes I couldn’t even open my mouth) which would last well into the day. I’d also notice I’d be sitting at my desk and without thinking about it I’d be clenching my teeth really hard. Aside from the pain, eventually it can wear your teeth away so it’s a problem you really want to get on top of!
There’s really only two ways to prevent it: one is to wear a mouth guard every night that your dentist can supply which doesn’t actually stop you grinding (particularly if you grind your teeth during the day as well), it just prevents damage to teeth while you wear it at night; and the other is through using Botox to weaken the muscles and therefore stop the action altogether.
I didn’t like the idea of the mouthguard because I travel a lot for work so it’s somewhat impractical and besides I clench my teeth a lot during the day not just at night. So I made an appointment to see Dr Ellen at Clinic 42 and see if Botox could potentially help solve the problem.
What was the result?
Over two sessions we applied approximately 50 units per side and about a week after the second session I started noticing that my jaw wasn’t sore anymore, particular after waking up when it used to be at it’s worst. Visibly I’ve noticed a huge difference too. My jawline is slimmer and straighter and I don’t have such large bumps on my jawline when I chew or clench my teeth.
FRONT: clenching jaw Before/After Botox treatment
SIDE: clenching jaw Before/After Botox treatment
You can see those ridges on my jaw in the first photo are the actual muscles at play. They were so strong and hard before that they visibly jutted out, particularly on the left side. After they were softened dramatically and didn't stick out as much.
How long does it last?
If you keep it up initially by reviewing it every 4-6 months, the muscles responsible for causing the clenching and grinding will weaken to the point where you’ll need less botox each time and you won’t need to go as frequently; or it can even improve the situation to the point where you no longer need it at all.
Does it hurt?
It’s a needle at the end of the day so it isn’t completely painless but the ‘procedure’ (I use that term lightly as it’s so uninvasive it hardly feels like a procedure at all) is over and done with in a matter of moments. I found it hurt slightly more having it injected into my jaw than other ares of my face but really, it’s 5 minutes of slight discomfort compared to waking up every single morning with an extremely sore jaw. After the injections, I didn’t feel any residual pain at all and went about my day as normal.
What about the recovery? There’s no need for a 'recovery'. You’re in and out in 15 minutes and although you can’t lie down or workout for a few hours after, you can otherwise go about your day as you would and no one would have a clue you’d had anything done. It really has to be one of the quickest treatments out there.
Where should you go to get it done?
Because this is more of a medical rather than a cosmetic application, it’s even more important that you choose your provider wisely. The muscles at work here are quite large and complicated and the application will differ slightly to treating frown lines etc so I think it’s best to see a qualified doctor for this. Personally I see Dr Ellen at Clinic 42; each team member there is a fully qualified doctor who understand facial anatomy extensively and are able achieve the results I’m after. I’ve never had a negative experience there and always recommend my clients to them.
[clinic photo] website address
How much is required? There’s no textbook amount as everyone is different and one person may have stronger facial muscles than another. Men tend to have slightly stronger facial muscles and therefore tend to require a slightly higher dosage. It’s a muscle you don’t want to ‘freeze’ completely (unless you want to be on a liquid diet for a while), so your doctor will probably want to exercise restraint the first time you have it done and therefore you may need to go back in after the first lot has taken effect to see if any more is required.
Are there any side effects?
Occasionally some people experience light bruising but this is pretty rare. You may also notice a ‘slimming’ of the jawline over time as the masseter muscles weaken and in fact this is an outcome that many people use Botox specifically to achieve, even if Bruxism isn’t a problem for them.
If you'd like to know more about the treatment, I’d recommend getting in touch with Clinic 42 here