The Reality About Botox for TMJ Problems


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Botox shortly gained a stellar popularity for its capability to battle nice strains and wrinkles. Now, the neuromodulator is applauded for its capability to: assist realign lazy eyes (when injected right into a key eye muscle); give the looks of a extra elongated face (when injected into the chin); mitigate hyperhidrosis (aka extreme underarm sweat); alleviate migraines; and even take the sting off an overactive bladder. What’s extra, in case you undergo from dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), a gaggle of facial bone problems that may trigger extreme ache, tenderness, and a decreased vary of movement within the jaw, Botox can assist with that, too.

What’s TMJ?

Earlier than revealing the correlation between Botox and TMJ, it helps to know what TMJ is from an all-encompassing viewpoint. Quick for temporomandibular joint, TMJ is a dysfunction that resides within the precise jaw joint. That is essential to notice since TMJ is usually confused with TMD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) which is definitely the class assigned to a handful of problems that may have an effect on the jaw joint. In layman’s phrases, TMJ refers back to the joint itself, whereas TMD refers back to the problems that may wreak havoc on the joint.

“TMD/TMJ issues are orthopedic issues involving muscular tissues, joints, ligaments, and tendons,” says orofacial ache specialist Donald R. Tanenbaum, DDS, MPH. “Widespread issues are joint sprains, tendon strains, and muscle issues together with soreness, spasm, irritation, and stress.” The reason for these signs is straightforward: overuse.

“Behaviors and habits like nail and cuticle biting, and tooth contact or clenching, overwork the jaw muscular tissues, doubtlessly resulting in muscle damage and signs of ache, restricted jaw movement, the lack to carry the tooth collectively usually and/or lockjaw,” says Dr. Tanenbaum. “As well as, tooth grinding and clenching through the sleeping hours may overwork and fatigue the jaw muscular tissues resulting in morning complications, jaw muscle soreness, aching tooth, and restricted jaw movement.

Does Botox really assist with TMJ problems?

Take into consideration how Botox works: It’s designed to inhibit muscle contraction. As such, injecting Botox into the masseter (the muscle that’s largely liable for jaw motion) can, in impact, alleviate the overstimulation of sure every day habits that may result in TMJ points. However don’t fear! Getting Botox received’t make it not possible to open your mouth or impair your speech.

“Botox doesn’t cease muscle contraction however reduces the depth of the contraction,” says Dr. Tanenbaum. “Since it really works by decreasing the power of a muscle to contract and tighten as vigorously as regular, it will possibly assist muscular tissues which were overworked start to calm down and get well their well being.”

All this to say: Sure, Botox for TMJ actually does work. “Botox injections can assist cut back the widespread TMJ signs of ache, soreness, tightness, stress, and fatigue,” says Dr. Tanenbaum. (However bear in mind: That is nonetheless a comparatively new follow. Most Botox for TMJ research insist that extra analysis is required to definitively show the advantages of therapy.)

One factor to notice: Botox isn’t the reply for each TMJ/TMD difficulty. In keeping with Dr. Tanenbaum, it’s not often used to deal with clicking and locking jaw points.

Botox for TMJ Logistics

Though the masseter is the biggest muscle within the jaw, Dr. Tanenbaum says that, for the best therapy, Botox must be injected into the temporalis to deal with TMJ.

“[The masseter and temporalis] carry the tooth collectively from an open mouth place,” he explains. “These are known as the jaw elevators. At instances, the jaw opening muscular tissues, known as the lateral pterygoids, additionally have to be injected. [But] for probably the most half, the temporalis and masseter are the main target of the Botox injections.”

Given the dimensions of the jaw muscular tissues, extra models of Botox are wanted to adequately soothe clenching. “Sometimes, 25 to 30 models of Botox are wanted in the suitable and left masseter muscular tissues, and 20 models within the temporalis muscle,” Dr. Tanenbaum says. After getting injected, he says that the majority sufferers really feel reduction inside 5 days, nevertheless, probably the most noticeable advantages pop up across the two-to-three-week mark, with full advantages lasting as much as eight weeks. So, similar to facial Botox, it’s essential to know that the outcomes received’t final ceaselessly.

Aspect Results of Botox for TMJ

When Botox is injected into the brow, there’s the minimal concern of paralyzed expression or a drooping eyelid. Whereas uncommon, it’s potential. Equally, Botox for TMJ has potential unwanted effects, however they’re unusual. “Unwanted effects solely happen if the Botox will not be injected in the suitable areas, resulting in drooping of the lip,” Dr. Tanenbaum says. “In any other case, sufferers can chew, swallow, and communicate with out concern.”

The Draw back of Botox for TMJ

When contemplating Botox for TMJ, Kate Zoumboukos, DMD of SW Austin Dental, calls out the price of Botox. Though the neuromodulator is assumed to have a strong risk-to-benefit ratio (and the Journal of Oral Maxillofacial Surgical procedure agrees), the excessive value of therapy can take it off the desk for many individuals.

Price apart, Dr. Tanenbaum says that, as efficient as Botox for TMJ will be, he doesn’t counsel it as a standalone remedy. “It must be complemented by schooling, methods to alter daytime jaw overuse behaviors, jaw stretching workouts, respiration workouts to maintain the jaw and neck muscular tissues unfastened, oral equipment for the sleep hours to decrease the influence of bruxism, and administration of life stressors,” he shares. “These remedies are sometimes useful on their very own or make the Botox remedies extra useful.”

The Takeaway

Earlier than fashionable medical advances, TMJ was once alleviated with out using neuromodulators. Regardless that it’s potential, Dr. Tanenbaum says that Botox is now a useful therapy that has helped numerous sufferers.

“It has been an excellent asset to make use of in sufferers who couldn’t tolerate a chew equipment whereas sleeping, or [who] obtained worse when utilizing them,” says Dr. Tanenbaum. “It has additionally helped sufferers that generally braced their jaw muscular tissues through the day, or lived with their tooth collectively, change these behaviors, leading to snug jaw muscular tissues and fewer facial/temporal complications that might come on through the day.”

Nonetheless, Dr. Tanenbaum says that Botox shouldn’t be checked out as an answer for eternity. As a substitute, Botox for TMJ must be used to initially calm down the jaw in a fashion that helps the affected person comfortably work on decreasing jaw-tightening behaviors. In spite of everything, you don’t wish to overuse Botox for TMJ. “Ongoing injections over a variety of years can weaken the jaw muscular tissues excessively and trigger facial slimming that might not be desired by the affected person,” says Dr. Tanenbaum. “On the flip aspect, some sufferers solely come to see me to cut back their sq. facial profile by slimming down the masseters.”


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