July 11, 2023
Chances are that you have heard of Botox, but only in the context of people using it to reduce the appearance of fine lines and facial wrinkles. While it is certainly effective, that’s not all it’s good for! Botox has actually been a go-to pain reliever used by healthcare professionals for decades, and one of the most common problems it can help resolve is TMJ dysfunction. If you’re constantly dealing with headaches/migraines, a sore jaw, or teeth grinding, Botox may be just what you need to find relief.
How Botox Helps with TMJ Dysfunction
There are many potential causes of TMJ dysfunction, but often, it stems from the teeth, jaw, and TMJ not being properly aligned. When the teeth don’t come together completely when the mouth is closed, the muscles of the TMJ unconsciously try to force them together. As a result, the muscles overwork, grow tired, and become sore. This can easily radiate into nearby areas, which is why many people with TMJ dysfunction report symptoms like headaches, neck aches, earaches, and in rare cases, even back pain.
The “magic” of Botox is that once it is injected into a muscle, that muscle fully relaxes. With facial muscles, this means the motions that cause wrinkles to form no longer happen, leading to a smoother and more youthful appearance.
But when Botox is injected into the TMJ, this stops the overactivation and strain that is the source of someone’s discomfort. The jaw muscles finally stop stressing themselves out and constantly tensing, which removes the root of the pain, leading to fast relief.
What is it Like Getting Botox for TMJ Dysfunction?
You don’t have to go to a spa to get Botox for TMJ dysfunction, but rather your dentist. Some dentists are specially trained to apply Botox in this way, and their innate expertise when it comes to oral anatomy (which includes the jaw) allows them to pinpoint the areas where it can do the most good.
Typically, a treatment only takes about 10 minutes from beginning to end. A topical anesthetic is applied, and then the Botox is injected into the TMJ. Within three to four days, a patient should start to notice a difference, but they will still be able to move their jaw and speak like normal. The results usually last about three to four months before more injections are needed. This approach has also been shown to reduce the size of overly large masseter (chewing) muscles that can cause the jaw to appear too square or even swollen, so there is a cosmetic benefit as well!
What’s important to point out is that Botox for TMJ dysfunction is a short-term fix. It can stop the ongoing pain, but the underlying cause of the condition still needs to be addressed. Fortunately, a dentist is the best person to see for this as well! Immediate relief and a long-term solution are waiting for you at the same place, so there’s no reason to delay scheduling an appointment so you can begin your more comfortable future right away.
About the Author
Parkway Vista Dental is led by Dr. Bita Kamali, and here, she strives to give each patient personalized dentistry. To that end, she offers preventive, cosmetic, and restorative services that can be tailored to your unique smile, as well as emergency procedures. She is also specially trained to provide Botox for TMJ dysfunction. For more information or to book a visit, you can reach her on our website or by phone at (972)-818-1300.