The temporomandibular joints are located on the sides of the head and allow the jaw to move up and down and from side to side. When problems arise in these joints, they are collectively referred to as TMJ disorders. This jaw pain can be caused by a variety of factors, such as genetics, arthritis, or injury. Many times, those who have jaw pain also clench or grind their teeth (bruxism). At Dental Associates—Alsip, we utilize Botox therapeutically to alleviate this pain. Botox is commonly used esthetically to treat fine lines and wrinkles, but it can also be used therapeutically to treat those patients who grind and clench their teeth or experience symptoms related to TMJ disorder.
How Does it Work?
Botox acts therapeutically to relieve pain for multiple dental conditions that cause tension in the jaw muscles. It temporarily relaxes targeted muscles that control voluntary and involuntary movement. For TMJ disorder, it is thought to provide symptom relief by reducing involuntary spasms in the jaw and/or clenching that puts stress on the mandible. It also helps to protect teeth and prevent future tooth wear for those who grind their teeth. Jaw pain, difficulty chewing, joint clicking, and headaches are a few of the common symptoms that can be assessed during a consult for Botox therapy.
What to Expect
After your initial consultation with Dr. Meg Eber, she will carefully inject the treatment area (typically the jaw muscles). Some patients may experience some minor discomfort, but most rarely report any pain during treatment. To help avoid any discomfort, a cold pack or anesthetic cream may be applied to the treatment area. Your appointment should take only about 15-30 minutes, depending on the number of injections you require. There is no recovery period, and you can resume your normal routine immediately after treatment.
Results of Botox Treatment for TMJ Disorder
Many patients experience improvement from their TMJ symptoms within one or two days of their first treatment, but it may take up to two weeks to feel the full effect of relief. There may be some mild numbness, redness, or bruising at the treatment site, but these symptoms are temporary. Most patients feel relief for three to four months before requiring additional treatment. Botox for TMJ disorder is recommended at 3–4-month intervals.
To learn more about how we can treat your TMJ disorder discomfort, schedule a consultation with Dr. Meg Eber below.