Botox For TMJ
TMJ, also known as TMD or temporomandibular joint disorder, is a chronic condition where the jaw is misaligned. Many factors can combine to cause TMJ, such as poor posture, arthritis, crooked teeth, anxiety, and grinding teeth while sleeping. These factors can silently build up over the years, leading to chronic TMJ symptoms.
Chronic pain in several parts of your jaw muscles and joints is a defining symptom of TMD. Other symptoms include clicking and popping when you open and close your mouth, pain and popping in the ears, difficulty chewing, and vertigo.
TMJ may often go undiagnosed for long periods. People may choose to wait until telling their dentist about their chronic pain or use over-the-counter remedies like ice packs. They may also attempt to reduce stress on their jaw by eating softer foods and avoiding yawning often. However, at-home treatments may only temporarily relieve the pain, instead of providing a long-term solution.
Conventional treatments for TMJ vary in their effectiveness from patient to patient. However, Botox is emerging as a fast, effective treatment option with promising results.
Conventional Treatments For TMJ
Bite guards are common conventional treatments for TMJ. Bite guards are pieces of plastic worn in the mouth that stabilize the jaw. Dentists often prescribe them for TMJ and can discourage general teeth-grinding habits. Bite guards may be used in conjunction with other treatment options.
Dentists and physical therapists may recommend stretches, exercises, and massages to treat TMJ. These simple forms of physical therapy can reduce tension and alleviate chronic pain if done correctly. TMJ can also originate in the back and shoulders due to poor posture, and addressing these areas can help with TMD in some cases.
Anxiety is a common source of chronic teeth grinding, which can lead to TMJ. Mental health professionals may prescribe anti-anxiety medication to relieve anxiety, which can also reduce teeth grinding habits.
If TMD persists through other forms of treatment, orthodontists may recommend surgery. Surgery for TMJ ranges from non-invasive to invasive, and may involve reducing inflammation around the joints, removing scar tissue, or operating on the joint directly. Surgery may be a last-resort option for patients who have severe TMJ.
Botox As a TMJ Treatment
Botox is commonly used in cosmetic treatment. It is injected into the skin to reduce wrinkles and other signs of aging. Botox can block nerve signals in facial muscles, which usually contribute to wrinkles and frown lines.
Many people do not realize that Botox has uses beyond cosmetic treatment. It can also be used in dentistry to relieve TMJ. When Botox is injected into the jaw, it works in a similar manner by reducing movement and blocking nerve signals. The jaw muscles will gradually relax, and the reduced tension can lead to less chronic pain, aches, and difficulties in daily routines.
Botox injections for TMJ are fast, effective, and less invasive than many conventional treatment options. Instead of wearing an uncomfortable mouth guard or going through surgery, patients can experience TMJ relief with a single treatment. It takes up to 10 days for Botox treatment to start undoing years of misalignment and tension. After treatment, TMJ symptoms continue to improve over time.
If the initial Botox treatment does not work, dentists may recommend an additional treatment called dry needling. Some patients may still wear a bite guard while sleeping, to protect their teeth from clenching.
TMJ is a painful chronic condition that can make daily activities like eating and sleeping painful. If you suspect you may have TMJ, don’t let it take over your life. At Keith + Associates Dentistry, we have the skill and expertise to handle patients from all backgrounds and conditions. Call us today at 913-384-0044 to schedule an appointment for TMJ symptoms.