When most people think of botox, they think of sculpted faces and smoothed out wrinkles. While it’s true that botox is frequently used for cosmetic purposes, it has medical uses as well. In fact, botox can be used to help with things like chronic migraines, lazy eye, eye twitching, and excessive sweating.
One more use for botox: treating TMJ disorders.
What are TMJ disorders?
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders, often simply referred to as TMJ, cause pain in the jaw and the jaw muscles. People who have TMJ often have symptoms like:
- Pain in the jaw
- Pain around the ear
- Pain while chewing
- Difficulty opening or closing the mouth (“lockjaw”)
- A clicking sound when chewing or opening the mouth
While the cause of TMJ isn’t always clear, it can include things like teeth grinding, arthritis, or injury to the jaw or face. TMJ isn’t necessarily dangerous, and sometimes it doesn’t even require treatment, but it can be extremely painful, can inhibit eating, and can lead to secondary symptoms like headaches.
Botox for TMJ
Botox is not considered a primary treatment for TMJ, but for certain patients, it may be effective. Since TMJ is often caused or worsened by unconscious jaw movements, Botox may be able to help by making these muscles unable to move, giving them time to relax. This could help TMJ symptoms go away—often within a few days.
If your dentist thinks that Botox might help relieve your TMJ, there are a few things to consider.
Procedure: The procedure can be done right in your dentist’s office, and is over fairly quickly (usually after less than 30 minutes). The number of Botox injections you’ll need for your TMJ will be up to your dentist, but injections are often done in the forehead, temple, and jaw areas. Most patients do not find these injections to be particularly painful, but you can talk with your dentist about possible pain relief solutions.
Side effects: You may experience minor pain or bruising at the injection site. Some people also report headaches, nausea, or other temporary side effects.
Downtime: Because the procedure is so quick, it’s possible to get back to your daily activities immediately after receiving a Botox treatment for your TMJ. That said, it’s recommended that you remain upright and avoid rubbing the injection sites for a few hours after your treatment, in order to prevent the Botox from spreading to other muscles.
Cost: Your Botox treatment may not be covered by your insurance. If you are concerned about cost, it’s important to talk with your dentist and your insurance, so you can know what to expect in terms of payment.
TMJ treatment may not be the first thing you think of when you think “Botox,” but Botox may be the solution you’ve been waiting for to help treat your painful TMJ symptoms.
The best way to know if you have TMJ, and if you are a good candidate for Botox treatment, is to talk to your dentist. At Smile Concepts, we work every day to help our patients maintain happy, healthy, pain-free mouths and smiles. We’d love to help you get to the root of your jaw, mouth, or facial pain, and to help you decide if Botox treatment may be the right choice for you.
Contact our friendly staff today to set up your appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!