How Can Botox Help TMJ Patients?

Botox injections help smooth out wrinkles and reduce the signs of aging on the forehead and around the eyes. The popular cosmetic treatment can also help relieve migraines and other health issues, including TMJ disorders. TMJ disorders can be disabling as they cause chronic jaw pain, headaches, and difficulty eating. 

Botox can help paralyze particular jaw and facial muscles, reducing the symptoms. Find out how Botox can help TMJ patients. 


Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder


TMJ disorder occurs when the joint becomes swollen or displaced from stressors such as teeth grinding or clenching. The temporomandibular joint appears on both sides of the face where the jawbone and skull meet. 

The joint ensures the mouth functions as required. Exerting excessive pressure on the muscles causes pain and reduces jaw function. Diagnosing and treating the condition can help relieve the symptoms. 


Symptoms of TMJ Disorder 


Patients experience several symptoms due to TMJD. The most common include the following:

  • Sharp or achy jaw pain

  • Jaw clicking or popping when talking or chewing

  • Lockjaw or limited ability to open or close the jaw

  • Swollen face

  • Neck or shoulder pain

  • Toothaches

  • Headaches or migraines

  • Ringing in the ear or earaches


What Causes TMJ Disorders?


The most common causes of TMJD are clenching the teeth, grinding (bruxism), and aggressive or heavy chewing of hard foods. Lockjaw results from severe TMJD that occurs when the jaw locks, making it hard to open the mouth wide. 

Stress unrelated to the jaw muscles can exacerbate the symptoms of TMJD. It includes pressure from home, work, or school that causes the face and neck muscles to tense. It also causes the teeth to become clenched. 


Botox for TMJ Disorders


Doctors inject Botox into specific jaw muscles, reducing clenching and grinding. The Clostridium botulinum bacteria releases a neurotoxin that targets the nervous system. Doctors inject Botox into the lateral pterygoid. In small quantities, it does not cause illness but paralyzes muscles. 

Targeting specific muscles can help relieve TMJ disorder. It helps reduce pain, jaw clicking, and limited jaw mobility. Botox works quickly to reduce symptoms but is not a cure. It provides temporary relief and requires additional treatments every few months as it wears off. 


Risks Associated With Botox for TMJD 


There are several side effects associated with Botox for TMJD. These include:

  • Headaches

  • Infection on the injection site

  • Allergic reactions

  • Muscle pain

  • Facial paralysis

  • Flu-like symptoms

  • Double vision

  • Dry mouth

Talk to your dentist about the risks and benefits of the treatment if you want to try it. Pregnant or nursing women should not get Botox treatment. 

Studies show that Botox is an effective TMJD treatment but is often a last resort. The effects often last three to five months. Doctors will usually recommend other treatment options first. While some insurance plans cover Botox for TMJD, many do not. In most cases, insurers require patients to try other treatment options first. The cost of treatment depends on such factors sas location and the number of injections. 

Botox treatment is still considered experimental, and doctors do not have an established dosage for TMJD. 

For more on how Botox can help TMJ patients, visit Reaves Dental at our New Hartford, New York office. Call (315) 736-0139 to schedule an appointment today.

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