Pilot study suggests botulinum toxin could help with bruxism

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Pilot study suggests botulinum toxin could help with bruxism


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In a double-blind placebo study, U.S. researchers have tested the safety and efficacy of onabotulinum toxin-A as a possible treatment for bruxism. (Photograph: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock)

Fri. 9. February 2018


HOUSTON, U.S.: A new pilot study has suggested that botulinum toxin might be a feasible way to treat people suffering from bruxism. In the double-blind placebo study, researchers tested the safety and efficacy of onabotulinum toxin-A (BoNT-A) injected into the masseter and temporal muscles in patients with symptomatic sleep bruxism. According to the results, those who received the injection reported minimized tooth grinding and clenching.

The study involved 22 patients between 18 and 85 years old with clinically diagnosed sleep bruxism, confirmed by polysomnography. The researchers, from the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute, injected 13 participants with 200 BoNT-A units (60 into each masseter and 40 into each temporal muscle) and the remaining patients with the placebo.

Speaking to Dental Tribune International, head researcher Dr. Willian Ondo said, “There are many different theories regarding the genesis of bruxism, ranging from purely psychiatric to purely mechanical. Nevertheless, all movement is mediated by muscles, therefore relaxing the appropriate muscles that cause jaw grinding with botulinum toxin should reduce those movements, regardless of the condition’s etiology.”

According to the results, after the four- and eight-week checkups, participants who were given the placebo injection recorded no improvement to their bruxism condition. However, those who were injected with BoNT-A reported a positive effect with less general grinding and clenching, as well as a reduction in general, associated pain.

According to the researchers, this points to BoNT-A being an effective and safe way to improve sleep bruxism; however, they recommended a large multicenter trial to confirm the initial findings. “There have been a couple of small studies on using botulinum toxin for bruxism done in Asia. We would like to perform a large multicenter trial in North America, but currently there are no active plans to do this,” said Ondo.

The study, titled “Onabotulinum toxin-A injections for sleep bruxism: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study,” was published in the Neurology journal on Jan 17 2018.

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