Teeth Grinding Treatment Vancouver

Bruxism also known as teeth grinding- and Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) are two common but often misunderstood orofacial conditions that affect a significant portion of the population that goes beyond Vancouver. TMJ disorder is a complex condition that impacts the joint connecting the jaw to the skull, resulting in pain and discomfort during activities like chewing or speaking. Bruxism, on the other hand, is characterized by the habitual grinding or clenching of teeth, predominantly during sleep, leading to a host of dental and muscular issues over time.

Best Teeth Grinding Treatment Vancouver: Sparrow MD
Best Teeth Grinding Treatment Vancouver: Sparrow MD

For years, these conditions have been managed using a range of traditional treatments. In the case of TMJ, treatment usually involves a combination of medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes, such as stress management and dietary modifications. For bruxism, nightguards or splints are often prescribed to protect the teeth from the impact of grinding. In severe cases, dental correction procedures or even surgery may be necessary. While these treatments have proven successful for some, they often only address the symptoms and not the underlying cause, leaving many patients in search of a more effective solution.

Best Teeth Grinding Treatment Vancouver: Sparrow MD

This is where neuromodulators like Botox®, Xeomin®,  Dysport® and Nuceiva® come into the picture. These substances have the ability to alter nerve impulses and have been used extensively in the fields of medical aesthetics. Neuromodulators offer a promising alternative to traditional treatments, potentially providing long-lasting relief by addressing the source of the problem. In this post, we will delve into the details of these intriguing compounds and what the procedure involves for patients seeking this new form of treatment.

Best Teeth Grinding Treatment Vancouver: Sparrow MD

Best TMJ Botox® Treatment Vancouver

Understanding TMJ and Bruxism

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ): TMJ refers to a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles controlling jaw movement. This can result in symptoms like pain in the jaw area, difficulty opening or closing the mouth, a clicking or grating noise when moving the jaw, and sometimes headaches or earaches. TMJ can be caused by a variety of factors, including arthritis in the jaw joint, injury to the jaw, long-term grinding or clenching of the teeth, or structural jaw issues present from birth.

Bruxism: Bruxism, on the other hand, specifically refers to the habit of grinding or clenching the teeth. This can happen during the day (awake bruxism) or at night during sleep (sleep bruxism). The causes of bruxism are not completely understood, but it's often linked to stress, anxiety, an abnormal bite, or missing or crooked teeth. Over time, bruxism can lead to dental damage, such as worn down or broken teeth, and it can also contribute to TMJ disorders by putting excessive stress on the jaw joint.

Best Teeth Grinding Treatment Vancouver: Sparrow MD

While they are different conditions, it's important to note that bruxism and TMJ can be interconnected. Chronic teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism) can contribute to the development or exacerbation of TMJ disorders due to the ongoing strain and pressure on the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. Conversely, people with TMJ disorders might develop bruxism as a response to the pain or discomfort in their jaw. It's not uncommon for these conditions to co-occur, and treating one can often help alleviate the symptoms of the other.

The Impact of TMJ and Bruxism on Quality of Life

Both TMJ disorders and bruxism can significantly impact a person's quality of life. The constant pain and discomfort can make everyday tasks like talking and eating difficult. Sleep disturbances, a common occurrence in both conditions, can lead to daytime fatigue and diminished overall health. The persistent pain may lead to increased stress and anxiety which can exacerbate the condition. Additionally, the resulting dental problems can not only be painful but also expensive to address.

Best Teeth Grinding Treatment Vancouver: Sparrow MD

Botox® for TMJ and Teeth Grinding

What are Neuromodulators?

Neuromodulators are a class of substances that alter the way nerve signals are transmitted in the body. They can either enhance or reduce the activity of neurons, the nerve cells responsible for transmitting information throughout the body. Neuromodulators work by binding to specific receptors on neurons, influencing their activity and thereby modulating various bodily functions. They play a key role in many biological processes, including pain perception, muscle contraction, and stress response.

Best Teeth Grinding Treatment Vancouver: Sparrow MD
Best Teeth Grinding Treatment Vancouver: Sparrow MD

Common Types of Neuromodulators and How They Work

There are several types of neuromodulators, with some of the most well-known being Botox®, Dysport®, Xeomin® and Nuceiva®. These botulinum toxins are derived from a bacterium known as Clostridium botulinum, and it works by blocking the nerve signals that cause muscles to contract. This results in temporary muscle relaxation, thereby reducing or eliminating associated discomfort.

Current Applications of Neuromodulators in Medicine

While neuromodulators are perhaps best known for their use in cosmetic procedures to reduce and prevent the formation of wrinkles and fine lines, their application in medicine is far-reaching. In neurology, Botox® is used to treat a variety of conditions characterized by overactive muscle activity, such as cervical dystonia (a neurological disorder that causes severe neck and shoulder muscle contractions), blepharospasm (uncontrolled blinking), and chronic migraines. It is also used in the management of excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) and certain bladder disorders. In dentistry and orofacial medicine, the use of neuromodulators to manage conditions like TMJ and bruxism is an emerging area of interest with promising results.

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Recent research indicates that neuromodulators, particularly Botox®, can be an effective treatment for both TMJ disorders and bruxism. Several studies like this one from the Journal of Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery have shown that Botox® injections into the masseter and temporalis muscles (the major muscles involved in mastication) can significantly reduce pain and improve jaw function in patients with TMJ disorders. Similarly, studies on bruxism have found that neuromodulators can reduce the frequency and intensity of teeth grinding, thereby alleviating symptoms and preventing further dental damage.

Best Teeth Grinding Treatment Vancouver: Sparrow MD

How Neuromodulators Can Potentially Alleviate TMJ and Bruxism Symptoms

The mechanism behind the effectiveness of neuromodulators in treating TMJ and bruxism lies in their ability to induce muscle relaxation. By blocking nerve signals that trigger muscle contractions, neuromodulators can effectively reduce the overactivity of the muscles involved in mastication. This alleviates the excessive strain on the jaw joint in the case of TMJ and decreases the intensity of teeth grinding and clenching in the case of bruxism.

Best Teeth Grinding Treatment Vancouver: Sparrow MD

Botox® TMJ Vancouver: Benefits of Using Neuromodulators

Neuromodulators offer several benefits in the management of TMJ disorders and bruxism. They target the root of the problem by reducing muscle overactivity, thereby providing relief from symptoms. As the treatment involves injections, it's non-invasive compared to surgical options. Relief from symptoms can be rapid, often observed within a few days to a week after treatment, and the effects can last for several months, reducing the need for ongoing daily treatments. Neuromodulators like Botox® can also provide a viable alternative for patients who have not responded to traditional treatments or cannot tolerate them due to side effects.

Cost Considerations

The cost of neuromodulator treatment can vary depending on the region, the specific neuromodulator used, and the number of units required. While initially, the cost may seem higher than traditional treatments such as oral appliances or medications, it's important to consider the long-term benefits and cost-effectiveness. Neuromodulators can potentially reduce the need for ongoing daily treatments, dental repairs from continued grinding, and improve the overall quality of life.

Best Teeth Grinding Treatment Vancouver: Sparrow MD

Best TMJ Treatment Vancouver:

The Procedure

Consultation- The initial consultation is done thoroughly ensuring that the individual is the right candidate for this treatment and allows our doctors to make a personalized treatment plan that takes into account the patient's unique needs and circumstances.

Numbing- In order to maximize comfort and reduce pain, a topical anesthetic or ice may be used in the treatment area.

Marking- Our physician will mark the injection sites on the masseter and/or temporalis

muscles, which are the primary muscles involved in mastication.

Procedure- After marking, our physicians will inject the neurotoxin, often Botox®, carefully into the marked areas. The number of injections will depend on the severity of the patient's symptoms and the specific treatment plan.


The procedure involving neuromodulators for treating TMJ and bruxism is relatively simple and quick. Depending on the length of the consultation, the appointment can last anywhere from thirty to sixty minutes.

Aftercare and Post-Procedure Expectations

Post-procedure, patients can usually return to their daily activities immediately, but they may be advised to avoid strenuous activities, heat, or massaging the injected area for 24 hours. Some patients may experience minor temporary side effects, such as bruising or swelling at the injection site, but these usually resolve quickly on their own.

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Profile Balancing Vancouver with Dermal Filler

Timeframe for the Effect of the Treatment

The effects of neuromodulators, such as Botox® or Dysport®, generally start to become noticeable within a few days to two weeks after the procedure. Patients typically experience a significant reduction in muscle tension and associated pain, with the peak effect usually occurring around 4 to 6 weeks after the treatment. The relief from symptoms can last anywhere from 3 to 6 months, depending on the individual's response. To maintain the benefits, patients will need to have repeat treatments every few months. Please note that these timeframes can vary slightly from person to person based on individual factors.

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Best Teeth Grinding Treatment Vancouver: Sparrow MD

Neuromodulators, particularly Botox®, have emerged as a promising treatment option for TMJ disorders and bruxism. By targeting the root cause of these conditions—overactive masticatory muscles—neuromodulators can provide significant relief from symptoms and improve patients' quality of life. With their quick onset of action, long-lasting effects, and non-invasive nature, they offer a compelling alternative to traditional treatments, particularly for patients who have not responded to conventional approaches.


As with any medical intervention, it's crucial for patients to consult with qualified healthcare professionals when considering neuromodulator treatment. This will ensure the safe and effective use of these substances, minimize potential side effects, and allow for a personalized treatment plan. Our physicians have years of experience and are ready to accompany you on

this journey. Sparrow MD offers patient-centered care catered to individuals suffering from these debilitating orofacial conditions and will prioritize your comfort. If you or someone you know  are suffering from these conditions, we encourage you to come in for a consultation and discover the transformative effects of what our physician-guided treatments can do for you.

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Medical Author

Dr. Zhai MD, CCFP

Dr. Zhai MD, CCFP

Dr. Jacqueline Zhai is a medical doctor with advanced training in aesthetic medicine. She is registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (CPSBC). She is also a member of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS) and the Canadian Association of Aesthetic Medicine (CAAM). Dr. Zhai focuses on delivering natural results that are tailored to each and every one of her patients. She is passionate about providing her clients with the most advanced and up-to-date treatment options. Dr. Zhai and her team are constantly updating their knowledge and translating this into patient care. Dr. Zhai loves both the artistic and personal nature of her work. She dedicates her work to helping her clients look and feel confident at any age.