The company that produces the famous botulinum toxin makes a considerable effort to prove that Botox has more medical uses than cosmetic. In this regard, at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting, a conference held in Philadelphia at the end of April, studies and test results have shown that the toxin can be used in teeth grinding treatment. Before being used in cosmetic medicine, the toxin was used for involuntary muscular spasm treatment. Bruxism is an unconscious condition, thus involuntary, and so it was just a matter of time before someone thought about trying to cure it with Botox.

Researchers said that the people who needed medical help for grinding their teeth so hard in their sleep got significant relief after being injected with Botox. Pain was reduced after Botox was injected in the masseter muscles of their jaws.  There are results from two different studies: one from the University of Texas Health Science Centre in Houston, and the other from the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. Both William Ondo, MD, from Houston, and Nawaf Murshed from Detroit presented documents that reported their tests were successful with bruxism patients.

Normally, bruxism is a condition that doesn’t affect personal well being, but there is a number of severe cases when teeth grinding may cause headache, dental problems and pain in the jaw. Worst case scenario, bruxism can be so bad that it can cause hypertrophy of the masseter muscle, which means that facial appearance can be affected.

The Houston team have tested Botox after including polysomnography in their experiments and it resulted that sleep architecture and breathing parameters were not altered. The toxin weakened the masticatory muscles in order to reduce teeth grinding during sleep, and it didn’t affect talking or smiling after awakening. The effect of an injection lasts from one month to 26 weeks.

There were no significant adverse effects reported by any of the two teams.