The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your jawbone to your jaw. Under specific circumstances — such as psychological stress, trauma to the jawbone, and dental misalignments — this joint becomes tense, causing symptoms. Some people may also suffer from teeth grinding and clenching during sleep.
Because tension in the joint is what causes the problem, neurotoxins like Botox can help relax the muscles in the face. Below, we asked Dr. Charley Cheney, the expert at Complete Dental Arts in Newnan, Georgia, to explain how Botox can be used to combat TMJ.
Tension in the muscles and joints of the face can cause soreness, swelling, ringing in the ears, migraines, a popping sound when opening your mouth or chewing, and pain that extends to the forehead, neck, and ears.
Specialists aren’t sure what causes TMJ, though fixing crooked or misaligned teeth often helps, as do stress-reduction strategies such as seeking psychological help and engaging in meditation or yoga.
But what happens when the symptoms don’t let you sleep, focus, or enjoy the present? Botox has an almost immediate effect on the muscles. Within a day or two after the treatment, you should notice improvement.
Botox works by interfering with the nerve signals that tell your muscles to move, allowing the muscles to relax. When the muscles are relaxed, the surrounding tissues no longer become overworked, sore, or inflamed. In addition, your teeth will also become less sensitive, especially if you usually grind them.
Alongside Botox, you may also benefit from physical therapy and mouthguards if you clench your teeth during sleep.
To relax your muscles and joints, you’ll receive several injections in your jaw, temples, and forehead. The treatment isn’t painful, but you’ll feel a small pinch from the needles. There’s no downtime, and you’ll be able to return to your daily activities soon afterward.
The results of Botox usually last about three to four months, after which you’ll need another round of injections. Botox injections are generally safe and have few side effects. However, you may notice some bruising and redness at the injection site.
Good candidates for Botox for TMJ management don’t have any active skin infections or conditions that may cause muscle weakness. Contact us to schedule an appointment and find out if Botox could relieve your symptoms.