Botox® as an Alternative Treatment for TMD
Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD or TMJ), are notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat. Many of the related symptoms, such as headaches and earaches, often lead doctors to diagnose a sinus condition, as opposed to a problem with the jaw joint. TMD symptoms often change in severity, depending on how much stress the sufferer is experiencing. During an intensely stressful period, grinding teeth, debilitating earaches, and lockjaw may occur. Botox® injections are sometimes an effective and painless way to alleviate tension in the temporomandibular joint, reducing jaw pain, headaches, and suffering.
Botox® is commonly associated with cosmetic practices, including eliminating glabellar lines and facial wrinkles. Recently however, Botox® has become an increasingly popular TMD treatment. Although some TMD symptoms may improve without any specific treatment, Botox® offers fast and long-lasting relief for those that do not.
Here are several of the major benefits Botox® offers TMD sufferers:
- Elimination of headaches caused by nighttime grinding.
- Minimization of lockjaw.
- Reduced discomfort when using the jaw.
- Reduced shoulder and neck pain.
- Substantially reduced jaw tension.
How does Botox® work?
The temporomandibular joint is located on both sides of the head where the skull adjoins the jawbone. This joint is constantly being used for a variety of daily activities, such as chewing, biting, speaking, and swallowing. The most prominent causes of TMD are jaw displacement and stress-related involuntary jaw movements. Botox® expediently alleviates temporomandibular tension by relaxing the jaw muscles, thus preventing unconscious jaw movement and ending grinding-related headaches.
One of the major advantages of Botox® is that normal functions such as speaking, swallowing, and biting are left unaffected. The only major change is the reduction in pain and discomfort. In addition, controlling TMD can also prevent serious dental problems from occurring later. TMD, if left untreated, can contribute to tooth decay, gum disease, and the loosening of teeth.
What’s involved when getting Botox® injections?
Prior to administering Botox® injections, the dentist needs to check the patient’s suitability for treatment. When used in conjunction with certain medications and substances, Botox® may not produce the desired results. It is exceptionally important therefore, to be honest about prior medical history. Botox® is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.
The Botox® injections take 10-20 minutes to administer, depending on the amount required. Because it is non-surgical, the Botox® procedure will be performed at the dental office. Driving ability will not be impaired by the treatment, so there is no need for a designated driver. The injections are no more painful than a bug bite or pinprick.
Normal activity can be resumed immediately after the Botox® treatment, but strenuous activity should be avoided for 24 hours after treatment. It may take 3-14 days to feel the full benefits of the treatment, but Botox® will continue to work for up to 3 months.
If you have any questions or concerns about TMD or Botox® treatment, please contact our office.
"I recently saw Dr. DeLeon for jaw pain. After living with TMJ problems for several years, I knew it was time to take action. Dr. DeLeon suggested Botox as a minimally invasive option to help manage my pain. We discussed my options and developed a treatment plan. Dr. DeLeon was very knowledgable about the treatment and was able to ease my concerns about the whole process. The injections were quick and almost totally pain-free. Within a week, I felt like a brand new person. My jaw pain is almost totally gone and my quality of life has definitely improved! I highly recommend this treatment to anyone suffering from TMJ issues!" - Rebeca