Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is a disorder of the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. Estimates suggest that 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ. Symptoms include tension headaches, pain in the jaw, pain when chewing, jaw locking, and inflammation. It’s also associated with depression and anxiety. There’s no known cause for TMJ, but genetics, arthritis, jaw clenching, teeth grinding, and trauma to the jaw could all play a role.
Not everyone responds well to TMJ treatments, and some want to avoid surgery. In these cases, Dr. Roberto Palmieri, an AACD Accredited dentist, uses Botox® to relieve symptoms. Want to find out more? Our team at Palmieri Dentistry has put together a short guide to explain it all for you.
Botox paralyzes the overworked muscles in your jaw that are causing your symptoms. So if you clench or grind your teeth (also known as bruxism), you’ll no longer be able to do so due to the partial paralysis caused by Botox in your problem areas. This course of treatment is especially beneficial for people who suffer from stress disorders linked to bruxism.
TMJ sufferers often have an inflamed or strained temporalis muscle. This muscle goes all the way from your cheekbone to your temporal bone, and when strained, it can cause symptoms similar to a tension headache. Botox relaxes the temporalis muscle and eliminates the strain that causes headaches in the first place.
A study done on 26 patients suffering from chronic pain and mobility issues caused by TMJ found that Botox significantly decreased pain and increased the mobility of the jaw for up to 3 months after the injections.
Another study that looked at tension headaches found that Botox was successful at preventing headaches from occurring and reduced the incidence of pain episodes in the jaw.
Botox therapy works best if your main problems are tension headaches, pain, and discomfort caused by involuntary jaw movements. The biggest advantages of botulinum toxin are the minimal side effects (some bruising and pain from injections), lack of downtime, and immediate results.
So if you’ve tried anti-inflammatories and painkillers, and your TMJ symptoms haven’t subsided, call us to schedule an appointment and get expert advice on whether Botox therapy is the right option for you. Your pain-free days may be closer than you think.