Botox for TMJ: An Alternative Treatment

If you have a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, then you know the jaw pain and stiffness a TMJ disorder can cause. TMJ disorders can sometimes be difficult to treat. Fortunately, you may be able to find relief in Botox as an alternative TMJ treatment.

Located on each side of your head near your ears, the temporomandibular joints connect your jaw to your skull. Your TMJ joints help you chew and speak. A TMJ disorder or dysfunction develops when the muscles and connective tissue become irritated or inflamed. A TMJ disorder may be acute and short-lived, or chronic and lasting longer than 3 months. The pain and stiffness resulting from TMJ dysfunction can be mild, moderate or severe. 

Healthcare professionals usually recommend trying standard treatments first. Conservative treatments for TMJ disorders include applying hot or cold packs, eating soft foods, taking medications to reduce pain and swelling, wearing a night guard or splint, and avoiding extreme jaw movements. Treating bite problems with dental crowns, bridges, or braces can also help.

For many people, though, the standard treatments for TMJ disorders do not work well. These patients are left in pain. Surgery may be an option for some people with TMJ dysfunction, but many people want to avoid surgical procedures. 

If you are one of the many people with TMJ disorder and do not experience relief with conservative measures, dental Botox may be right for you. 

About Botox - the Alternative Treatment for TMJ Disorders

Botox is a neurotoxin, which means it works by affecting the treated nerves. In the case of TMJ, Botox affects the trigeminal nerve, which is the nerve that sends pain, touch, and temperature sensations from your face to your brain. One section of the large 3-part nerve is the mandibular nerve; it carries nervous system signals that help you chew and swallow. 

Botox Effectively Treats TMJ Disorders

If you have TMJ pain that does not respond to other treatments, Botox may be right for you. While the FDA has not yet approved Botox for the treatment of TMJ disorders, several studies show that the treatment provides relief for many people with this type of jaw pain. For example, a 2012 study found that Botox treatments significantly reduced pain and increased jaw movement for three months following the treatment. A 2003 study showed that Botox treatment improved symptoms in up to 90 percent of participants whose TMJ disorder did not respond to other treatments. 

Botox treats many of the signs and symptoms associated with TMJ disorders. These signs and symptoms include:

  • Tension in your jaw
  • Headaches due to grinding your teeth
  • Lockjaw that may develop as the result of severe stress

Botox can also treat some of the causes of TMJ disorder. One treatable cause is teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. Grinding your teeth can irritate and inflame the muscles serving your temporomandibular joint. Botox for bruxism can help alleviate soreness from teeth grinding. 

What You Can Expect During a Botox Treatment for TMJ Disorders

Botox treatments are non-surgical procedures done on an outpatient basis, so trained healthcare professionals can administer Botox treatments for TMJ disorders during an office visit. Each treatment can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of injections a person needs during the visit. Most patient benefit from receiving up to 3 treatments administered over the course of several months. 

Botox is an injection administered with a thin needle into specific muscles associated with the temporomandibular joint. Specifically, the healthcare professional will inject Botox into muscles in the forehead, temple, and jaw. Depending on your symptoms, our dentist may inject dental Botox into other areas. 

The TMJ injection may feel like a bug bite or thorn prick. Applying a cold pack or numbing cream to the treatment area can reduce discomfort. 

There is no down time associated with Botox treatments for TMJ disorders – you can resume your normal activities immediately after your treatment. To prevent the Botox proteins from spreading to other muscles, remain upright and avoid massaging or rubbing the injection site for a few hours after your treatment. 

You can expect relief from TMJ pain within several days of treatment, although you may experience some improvement in your symptoms within a day or two. 

For more information about Botox for jaw pain and other symptoms of a TMJ disorder, consult with Liberty Family Dental. As Bloomington’s most trusted dental team, Liberty Family Dental offers a wide variety of dental services, from cleaning to dental implants and Invisalign.

Contact Us To Learn More
Contact Us