Botox for TMJ Problems
There are times when patients suffer with muscle pain problems for long periods of time and whose origins have no easy or immediate answers. Some of these patients suffer from spasms in their jaw muscles and as a result, cannot open their mouths wide. Others feel tension and pain in their jaw and facial muscles all the time, day after day, with no relief. Some can’t eat without twitching and cramping jaw muscles, while some patients have clenched their teeth for so long their facial and jaw muscles have changed shape, giving them concern about their appearance.
And some people who’ve had treatment for TMJ problems (various medications, tried exercises, physical therapy, oral appliances, and dietary changes) still continue to suffer. For them I’ve found that Botox for TMJ problems can be just the right thing.
That’s where Botox for TMJ problems comes into play.
Botox partially incapacitates a muscle’s ability to contract. Therefore, it provides an option for patients who’ve not responded to the more common forms of therapy. Injections of Botox in the facial, jaw, and/or neck muscles can often reduce muscle tension and symptoms for two to four months. Because the reduced tension allows for increased blood flow, and because the increased blood flow supplies muscles and tendons with nutrients and the oxygen necessary for cellular repair, Botox gives the jaw an opportunity to heal.
The relief has been remarkable for many of my patients who have had longstanding problems, although repeat injections are often necessary. To break the cycle of pain and dysfunction is the ultimate goal of care, and, for some, Botox for TMJ is an appropriate option.
The key to all of this is to accurately identify which patients are candidates for Botox injection therapy. My system of patient evaluation and experience enables me to accurately sense which patients will benefit. I’ve been able to provide diminished pain, less jaw muscle tension, better eating capacity and improved jaw motion without stiffness or soreness in the majority of my patients that go the Botox route.
Botox Injections for Overworked Muscles
Botox injections are typically given in two jaw muscles, the Masseter and Temporalis. These are the muscles that bulge when you forcibly bring your teeth together and are typically overbuilt in patients that have overuse jaw behaviors during the day (clenching, nail biting, gum chewing) and or sleep driven clenching or grinding of the teeth. Botox injections are also given in the frontalis muscle in patients with facial headaches and in the trapezius muscle in patients with jaw pain that is focused in the lower jaw.
After Botox injection into these muscles, relief begins to occur about three to five days later, with peak benefits being realized after one to two weeks. Though some patients only require one set of injections, others may require a series of two or three with three-month intervals between each in order to restore normal tone and pain thresholds to their chronically overworked muscles.
Home exercises are often recommended to assist the muscles in the process of recovery. In addition, I enourage patients to wear an oral appliance, particularly while sleeping, to give the jaw muscles a break for a few hours a day. Since the amount of Botox used does not stop the jaw muscles from working entirely, patients are still able to open and close their mouth and chew and speak normally.
Botox to Reduce Jaw Bulk
Overdeveloped jaw muscles can also alter the shape and size of the jaw. For those patients, 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.
Botox for Neuralgia
Over the last several years the use of Botox has also been explored for nerve pain problems. A recent scientific review has, in fact, has revealed great promise in the management of pain associated with Trigeminal Neuralgia (episodic nerve pain in the face) and Continuous Oral and Facial Neuralgia problems. The benefit of Botox in these problems relates to its ability to reduce the level of certain neurochemicals involved in nerve pain conditions.
As a result of these studies, Botox injections in the face and inside the mouth (around teeth or where teeth used to be) show encouraging results. Though in its infancy, the use of Botox appears to be a welcome addition to the treatment options for these difficult problems.
Schedule a consultation with me to discover if Botox is the right treatment option for your pain problem.