With the pinch of a needle, cosmetic dermatologists like Michelle Green can make forehead wrinkles disappear and crow’s feet swell like sourdough. Botox is utterly magical, slightly worrisome, and in high demand: Green’s New York City practice has been flooded as Americans seek to give themselves ‘Post-pandemic’ glow. But these days, many of her patients cannot afford after eternal youth and sex appeal. When Greene revised her schedule for the week every Monday morning, she told me, “I just love, My God. At least a quarter of Botox appointments are for people with completely different motives: they can’t stop gnashing and gnashing of teeth.
Across the country, patients dealing with an intrusive condition are now turning to Botox — yes, Botox. “It’s a very common treatment” for people who grind and clench their teeth, Lauren Goodman, a cosmetic nurse in Los Angeles, tells me. Bruxism, the formal term that includes both behaviors, is an involuntary act that tends to occur when people are. sleeping At nightCauses including alcohol and tobacco use, sleep apnea and stress – may be the cause of this condition have risen in the United States during epidemic. The condition is a potential nuisance for many people, but the symptoms can become very real: As teeth bruxism increases, dentists report more cracked and cracked teeth in patients, along with jaw pain and facial soreness. In severe cases, patients can experience debilitating headaches and jaw dislocations. The most common treatments, such as mouthguards and lifestyle changes, only sometimes help relieve symptoms.
This is what makes Botox so attractive to the recent flood of dental grinders. Jaw injections relax the masticatory muscles that contract and grind with up to 250 pounds of forcePossibly relieve pain and prevent dental problems in this process. It’s not as if every dental grinder in America is heading to the nearest Botox clinic, but the procedure appears to have exploded since the start of the pandemic. Five dentists and estheticians told me they’ve noticed an increase in grinders and astringents for Botox. People who have exhausted traditional methods are “really committed only to relieving their pain,” said Samantha Rodin, a prosthodontist in New York City. “If that means inserting a needle into the face, so be it.”
But even if Botox has some positive aspects, it is hardly the surefire solution that dentists and patients have been searching for so long. This was the novel along with the gnashing of teeth: With so many potential causes, the treatments are an educated dice roll – none of them are universally effective. “I don’t tell my patients that I can cure them,” Gilles Lavigne, a professor of dentistry at the University of Montreal told me. “I tell them I can help them manage their condition.” So, how do we still not always know how to deal with this incredibly common disease?
Botox crept into the gnashing stage long before the epidemic. Although it has gained remarkable traction over the past few years, Research On the effectiveness of Botox extends back Until the late nineties. In the years since, researchers have also discovered that injections, which temporarily paralyze the masticatory muscles responsible for grinding and clenching, can reduce the frequency and severity of teeth grinding. It’s one of the non-cosmetic uses of Botox that has been identified since the drug came on the market in 1989: The injections also treat issues like excessive underarm sweating, acne, and migraines.
The use of Botox to treat bruxism hasn’t been approved by the FDA, so it’s still considered off-label — but anyone with a Botox license can legally have a voluntary tooth grinder injection. And at least in theory, Botox has some advantages over other bruxism treatments. Night watchmen may keep you from grinding your teeth to bits while you sleep, but they can do it Not effective in stopping the behavior can even Makes it worse—Especially if you have Sleep ApneaJamison Spencer, a dentist and sleep apnea expert in Boise, Idaho told me. Minimally invasive systems such as yoga, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and physical therapy are hit or miss. Muscle relaxants can be helpful for some patients, but these aren’t universally popular among dentists I’ve spoken with, and some cited America. The opioid crisis as a concern.
Lena Palomo, a professor at New York University School of Dentistry, tells me that when less invasive treatments don’t work, Botox may be the “next frontier.” Grinders and cutters seem to learn about injections from a variety of sources. Rita Mizrahi, an oral surgeon in New York who offers Botox for bruxism, tells me that her patients are usually referred by regular dentists. Others discover jaw Botox in online forums like Reddit and RealSelf beauty network, Where anonymous discussions of the procedure abound. And some read mainstream media testimonials Or hearing about it from friends or family – especially as more and more Americans are embracing Botox for cosmetic purposes.
At its best, the procedure can really help some grinders: Studies have indicated that Botox can reduce pain levels. One RealSelf references Describe the experience of using night watchmen, stress relief, and de-caffeination prior to taking jaw injections. Four months after the procedure, they wrote: “Thank goodness for something like Botox to come in this day and age.” The procedure comes with a few cosmetic changes, too: Grinding and clenching all night can be an exercise, which can cause your masticatory muscles to swell and a square-shaped face. Green said the injections recede the jaw line for many patients, giving them a “more V-shape.”
But Botox has some downsides – and many dentists are still hesitant to recommend it. For starters, it’s expensive and not durable. The procedure usually costs at least $1,000; Not covered by medical or dental insurance; It usually does not last more than four months. “It’s not a one-time thing and you’re good,” Mizrahi said. Like most other available treatments, Jaw Botox attacks the symptoms of bruxism and gnashing of teeth, but not the cause. Because people still need to chew, Lavigne said, the chewing muscle isn’t quite as static — which means patients will “crunch with less force.”
and all of Risks Associated with the cosmetic use of Botox also applies here, such as bruising at the injection site, headaches, allergic reactions, and unwanted changes in facial expressions due to misplaced Botox. One RealSelf references Didn’t see any improvement in jaw pain but the unfortunate start of a creepy “chucky doll smile” resembling a grin. else They said that their headaches disappeared after the operation, but their cheeks also disappeared: “I couldn’t recognize myself in the mirror and it looked like I was 10 years old in two months.”
Using treadmills and cutters too often to Botox is not a pure success story. early Little gnashing of teeth It is in the Bible, yet we still don’t really understand how to stop it. I know firsthand how frustrating this can be. In January, after trying (and failing) to open wide enough to cook a crispy chicken, I finally got excited to see a dentist—who gave me a night guard so I stopped banging my teeth together. I meditate as if it was my job, I don’t have sleep apnea or take medications of any kind, yet I’m still biting off a piece of plastic like it does. My jaw is no longer locked but still jittery most of the morning. I ran out of cost to get Botox—so, like many grinders, I’m stuck in medicated cleanser.
A bruxism is not the same as a broken arm, where the cause and effect are obvious and can be fixed. “Because the origin [jaw] “Pain is not alone, you have to attack it in different ways, all the things that are likely to contribute to the pain have to be addressed,” Mizrahi told me, and that could include areas far from dentistry. Even dentists themselves aren’t always equipped with all the information: “We practically don’t get a bruxism education” at the College of Dental Medicine, said Spencer, a sleep apnea researcher from Idaho.
With all of these barriers, many patients never find out why they’re squeaking or grinding, says Alan Glarus, MD, professor emeritus of dentistry at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, who has been researching the problem for more than 40 years. This is partly because it is a difficult problem not only to tackle but also to study. The many causes of bruxism intersect with “a lot of disciplines,” such as dentistry, sleep health and psychology, sourcing the research process. Every area of behavior studies, but the results will only tell part of the story. “People are acting as if all this has been resolved, but it has not been resolved,” Glarus told me.
So far, mouth guards, meditation, and Botox are what we’ve got. Treatment, in all likelihood, is not going anywhere. “As people get to know others who have responded well, I expect we will see a slight increase,” Palomo said. Grinders and cutters would continue to chomp on their plastic night guards or pay thousands of dollars a year for temporary injections, all in a possibly successful attempt to quell their pain. If only Botox can eliminate bruxism as it does stubborn wrinkles.
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