Does Botox Treat TMJ Disorders?
by Dr. Scott Bolding
When most people hear the word Botox they think about smoothing wrinkles and trying to look younger.
But did you know that Botox can be used to help treat other conditions as well? In fact, some professionals recommend using Botox to treat TMJ disorders. Botox is often used in conjunction with other TMJ treatments.
Botox can help relieve some symptoms of TMJ disorders. However, it doesn’t directly address issues in the joint. Because of this, you shouldn’t depend only on Botox to treat TMJ disorders. It works best when used in conjunction with other treatments.
Ultimately, the right treatment for you depends on your case. You will need a thorough examination of your jaw joint before moving forward with any treatment, including Botox.
What is Botox?
In order to understand how Botox treats TMJ disorders, we need to know what Botox is and how it works in general.
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Botox is an injection used to smooth wrinkles and fight signs of aging. It actually uses a toxin called botulinum. Even though it’s a toxin, botulinum is safe in small doses. This toxin blocks the signals that contract your muscles so your face relaxes.
The main reason people get Botox is related to beauty and anti-aging. It can reduce lines on your forehead, crow’s feet, and frown lines. However, Botox can also be used to treat medical conditions including:
- Lazy eye
- Muscle spasms in your neck and face
How Botox Treats TMJ Disorders?
How Do TMJ Disorders Work?
Now let’s take a brief look at how TMJ disorders work.
The TMJ is just like the other joints in your body. It’s made of ligaments and tendons. And like other joints, it can break down or become damaged. When damage occurs in the jaw joint you have a TMJ disorder.
There are many causes of TMJ disorders. One of the most common is bruxism. Bruxism happens when you constantly clench or grind your teeth. It usually happens when you sleep, but you also may experience bruxism during the day. Bruxism is most commonly caused by stress.
The excess pressure caused by bruxism leads to wear and tear in your joint. Over time bruxism pushes your teeth out of alignment, which forces your jaw joint to work harder when you chew. This can also damage the jaw joint.
Botox Treats TMJ Disorders
Botox treats TMJ disorders because it addresses bruxism. It reduces bruxism by relaxing the jaw muscles in your face. This in turn relieves any tension in the jaw joint.
As your face relaxes certain symptoms related to TMJ disorders will start to fade including:
- Jaw tension
If your TMJ disorder is related to bruxism you will start to feel less and less pain in your jaw joint.
Does Botox Treat TMJ Disorders Effectively?
Now you may be wondering how effectively Botox treats TMJ disorders.
The truth is Botox can be helpful in relieving some of the symptoms of TMJ disorders. However, you shouldn’t rely only on Botox to treat TMJ disorders.
Botox only addresses the muscles around the jaw joint. It does nothing to treat the TMJ itself. When you have a TMJ disorder you need to address the damage done to the joint, especially if it’s severe.
Permanent relief is also an issue with using Botox to treat TMJ disorders. You will have to keep getting injections since the effects of Botox only last about 3-4 months.
Botox works best when used in conjunction with other TMJ treatments. In mild cases, you can combine Botox with OTC pain medication, resting the joint, and ice/heat therapy.
Is Botox for TMJ Disorders Safe?
Yes, Botox is very safe. Very few people who get Botox ever experience any severe side effects. However, it’s important to note that the FDA has not approved Botox for treating TMJ disorders. This means your insurance probably won’t cover the procedure.
Even though side effects are rare, here are some things to look out for:
- Respiratory infection
- Temporary eyelid droop
Get the TMJ Treatment You Need
Whether you should consider Botox to treat a TMJ disorder is not a decision you should make on your own. In order to get the treatment you need, you need a thorough diagnosis. We need to inspect your jaw joint so we can figure out the root cause, as well as how much damage has been done.
We may discover that Botox should be part of your TMJ treatment plan. Our goal, at the end of the day, is to make sure you get the treatment you need. We want you to relax your jaw, get rid of the pain, and break free from your TMJ disorder.
Learn more about how we help you treat TMJ disorders.