Botox for TMD

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When people suffer from TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint) disorders and the consequential jaw tension and pain, BOTOX® is commonly used as an alternative treatment. Once it is injected into the afflicted and sore facial muscles, BOTOX® relieves TMJ and jaw tension for many patients. Often times the injections eliminate the headaches that result from teeth grinding. Additionally, BOTOX® can even minimize lock jaw in the case of severe stress. Despite the fact that BOTOX® treatment for the aforementioned conditions is presently experimental, strong evidence indicates that it can be immensely effective.

How Does BOTOX® Treat Jaw Tension and TMJ Disorder?

Situated on both the left and right side of the head at the point where the jawbone meets the skull, the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) is used for eating, swallowing, talking, and other common everyday activities. If this joint is overworked through excessive teeth grinding or somehow becomes displaced, severe tension headaches and sharp pain in the jaw may ensue. BOTOX® injections relieve jaw tension by prohibiting muscles from engaging in the often unconscious and powerful movement of the jaw that causes headaches and pain.

The alternative BOTOX® treatment for jaw tension and TMJ issues is usually a straightforward, quick, and effective process. BOTOX is a non-surgical procedure. The injections are safely administered in the doctor’s office and no hospital stay is necessary. Within one or two days of their first treatment the majority of patients experience noticeable improvement. However, relief can take up to a week.

Areas Affected by TMJ Botox Therapy

Botox treatment for TMJ therapy will not affect any other areas of your body. Only the areas inserted with Botox will be “relaxed.” The injections are primarily in the frontalis, temporalis, and masseter (see picture below). Depending on the severity of the headaches and pain, additional areas may be injected.

How long is the Botox Treatment Procedure?

The duration of the Botox treatment procedure is dependent on the number of injections required– as determined by the doctor. However, it is likely for the entire treatment procedure to be completed within 10-30 minutes.

Is the Botox Treatment Painful?

The pain resulting from the Botox treatment procedure is due to the injections. However, this pain is generally very brief and minimal. Many patients have compared the Botox injection pain to a small prick or bug bite. Numbing the injection sites with anesthetic cream or a cold pack will greatly reduce the pain. The doctor may offer you “Laughing Gas” if you have a fear of needles.

What to Expect After the Botox TMJ Treatment?

Muscle tenderness will start to dissipate almost immediately after the Botox treatment. The wrinkles will begin to disappear within one to two days after the injections. You may see the wrinkles continue to dissipate up to one week after the Botox treatment procedure is completed.

You may experience mild temporary redness, bruising, or numbness around the injection sites. Most patients find that they look more relaxed, natural, and or less angry and sad. A small number of Botox patients witnessed no apparent difference in the reduction of their wrinkles.

What is the Recovery from Botox Therapy for TMJ Treatment Like?

The Botox Treatment procedure is non-invasive and non-surgical, so it is extremely likely that the patient can return to their normal activities immediately. However, in order to prevent spreading the toxin to other muscles of the body, patients should not massage or rub the injected area and remain upright for a period of time specified by the doctor. Patients should also shy away from physical activity for a time.

Risks, Limitations & Possible Complications of Botox Injections for TMJ Treatment

As is the case with any medical procedure, there are possible risks and side effects when undergoing Botox treatment. However, because it is a non-surgical procedure, the possible complications and risks are rare, temporary, and minimal.

The most frequently reported side-effects of Botox treatment are headaches,  temporary eye-lid droop, respiratory infection, nausea, and flu syndrome. More infrequent side effects of Botox are redness at spot of injection, muscle weakness, and pain. When they do happen hese symptoms usually occur within the first week.

There might also be a small amount of bruising at the injection site. The lips are engaged for common activities such as chewing, kissing, and talking. Consequentially Botox injections around the mouth are less efficient in TMJ treatment and can potentially have more inconvenient effects. The aforementioned everyday activities may gradually become more difficult. Also, too much Botox® around the mouth can result in drooling. There is also a possibility of the body developing antibodies that would render the TMJ treatments exponentially less effective. Using the lowest effective dose possible over the longest intervals of time could reduce resistance. Botox injections should be avoided during nursing, pregnancy, and lactation.