Botox for TMJ
Temperomandibular Joint disorder, or TMJ, is difficult for untrained clinicians to diagnose because the temperomandibular joint is very complex. In fact, next to the spine, it is the most complex joint in the body. This joint connects the jaw bone to the skull around the ears. It is very important to have a dentist trained in treating TMJ to evaluate this condition. TMJ is the breakdown of the temperomandibular joint and manifested through a variety of dangerous and/or painful symptoms.
It is important to understand that TMJ is caused or exacerbated by overactive jaw muscles. These overactive muscles cause damage in the following ways: 1) Nueromuscular (muscle) fatigue and tension 2) Deterioration of the temperomadibular joint 3) Stretching of the ligaments that hold the teeth in place 4) Cracks and fractures in the teeth. These four problems lead to a variety of symptoms (listed below) that you may experience if you have TMJ. Research has shown that Botox® is able to treat TMJ effectively.
How does Botox® work?
Botox® is traditionally used to eliminate wrinkles. What isn't commonly known is that Botox® achieves this by relaxing the muscles that cause the wrinkles and creases in the skin. Over time the wrinkles vanish. These same muscle relaxing effects can treat many health issues including TMJ. Botox® relaxes the muscle by decreasing the nerve impulses that trigger each muscle. In this process, it soothes everything involved with the overactive muscles.
According to a study done in 2000, Botox® will consistently relieve close to 50 percent or more of TMJ pain from one treatment. Repeated treatments will increase the effectiveness of the Botox®. Botox® is known to calm and relax the muscle it is released into. If strong and overactive jaw muscles are the main cause of TMJ symptoms, then Jaw Botox® will calm all your pain. If overuse of the jaw is secondary to another primary cause of pain then Botox® will significantly lower the TMJ symptoms. While Botox® calms unconscious jaw movement, important functions like chewing, swallowing, and speaking are left unaffected. This is why a simple Botox® treatment is recommended before more complex treatments are explored.
Here are major benefits Botox® offers TMJ sufferers:
Elimination of headaches and tooth wear caused by nighttime grinding.
Minimization of lockjaw.
Reduced discomfort when using the jaw.
Reduced shoulder and neck pain.
Substantially reduced jaw tension.
Is Botox® safe?
Yes. In fact Botox® is one of the safest medications you can administer. Botox® is a protein that was discovered in bacteria. Modern medicine is able to isolate the protein without including the bacteria. 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 TMJ can also prevent serious dental problems from occurring later. TMJ, if left untreated, can contribute to tooth decay, gum disease, the loosening of teeth, and severe pain.
What’s involved when getting Botox® injections?
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. The injections are no more painful than a bug bite or pinprick, but nitrous oxide (laughing gas) can be used to reduce anxiety if necessary.
Normal activity can be resumed immediately after the Botox® treatment, but strenuous activity should be avoided for 24 hours after treatment. Results will begin two days after treatment and full benefits of the treatment may take up to two weeks. Botox® will continue to work for 3 to 6 months. Repeated treatments will have longer lasting results than initial treatment. Occasionally only one Botox® treatment is needed to correct TMJ.
Clenching during the day or night.
Grinding during the day or night.
Jaw muscle soreness.
Pain opening the mouth.
Large cheek muscles.
Inexplicable tooth pain.
Tooth pain difficult to diagnose.
Worn down teeth.
Many other symptoms.