Unquestionably, at times we are faced with difficult muscle pain problems that have been present for long periods of time and have origins that have no easy or immediate answers. Some of my patients have suffered from spasms in their jaw muscles and as a result can’t open their mouth widely. Others feel tension and pain in their jaw and facial muscles consistently day after day with no relief. Some of my patients can’t eat without their jaw muscle twitching and cramping while many of our patients have clenched their teeth so long that their facial and jaw muscles have changed shape giving them concern about their appearance.
Many of the patients with these problems have used a variety of medications, exercises, physical therapy, oral appliances, and dietary changes, but continue to suffer. For these patients, the use of Botox may be just the right thing!
Since Botox has the capacity to partially incapacitate the ability of a muscle to contract, it provides an ideal option for patients who have not responded to more common forms of therapy. These injections can be administered in facial, jaw, and neck muscles and, if effective, will reduce muscle tension and symptoms for 2-4 months. During this time, the muscles and their tendons are given an opportunity to heal, as reduced tension allows increased blood flow, bringing the nutrients and oxygen necessary for cellular repair.
Though repeat injections are often necessary, the relief experienced by many of my patients with longstanding problems has been remarkable. Breaking the cycle of pain and dysfunction is the ultimate goal of care, and, for some, Botox is an appropriate option.
These injections are typically given in the jaw muscles, called the Masseters, which are the muscles that bulge when you bring your teeth together forcibly. The other muscles that we typically inject are those in the temples where many or our patients experience headaches. After we inject these muscles relief begins to occur after about a two-week period of time. Though some patients only require one set of injections, others may require a series of two or three in order to restore normal tone to the painful muscles.
After the injections are given home exercises may be recommended to assist the muscles in the process of recovery. In addition the use of oral appliances will be encouraged particularly while sleeping to help the jaw muscles relax.
Since the amount of Botox that is used does not stop the jaw muscles from working, you will still be able to open and close your mouth, chew and speak normally. Your smile will not be altered and nobody will suspect that anything about your appearance is different unless your goal is to reduce the bulk of your jaw muscles.
For those patients who are unhappy with the square profile of their jaw, which has occurred due to overdeveloped muscles, the use of Botox has produced outstanding results as well. Though benefit is not quick, with a series of injections, bulging muscles can flatten to a considerable extent.
All in all, Botox is an excellent option that I will be happy to discuss with you at any time.