Botox® for TMJ Disorder and Headaches
You’ve likely heard of BOTOX® treatments for cosmetic purposes. Many people use this treatment to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and smile lines or temporarily paralyze the sweat glands. But did you know that BOTOX® can also assist with headaches and painful symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder?
What is TMJ Disorder?
This condition occurs when the joints that open and close the jaw do not function properly. When the top and bottom parts of the jaw do not work together harmoniously, it can lead to joint stress or overuse of the jaw muscles. This can cause tension and muscle fatigue, as well as pain that radiates. TMJ disorder is often caused by a misaligned bite, but can also result from arthritis, facial injury or the natural shape of your jaw.
- Popping or clicking sounds in the jaw
- A feeling of shifting when you open and close your mouth
- Difficulty chewing
- Pain in the jaw or face
- Pain near the ears
- Neck pain
- Muscle fatigue
- Teeth grinding (bruxism) or jaw clenching
Not all TMJ disorder sufferers will experience the same symptoms, since every case of TMJ disorder may be slightly different. The jaw joints are composed of several moving parts, including bone, tendons, muscles, and cartilage. Your problem may originate in the alignment of your bite, joint degeneration, muscle use patterns, or elsewhere.
What is BOTOX®?
Botulin toxin, commonly known by the trade name BOTOX®, is a neurotoxic protein that can treat muscles spasms and muscle stiffness. It is derived from the botulism bacterium, but is not toxic or harmful to patients in the hands of a trained medical provider. Because BOTOX stays where it is injected, there is little danger of systemic side effects from injecting it into discrete areas. BOTOX may be best known for its cosmetic properties, but its paralytic qualities have been put to good use in treating many medical conditions.
How BOTOX® Injections May Help Alleviate TMJ Symptoms
There are several potential treatments for TMJ disorder, including orthodontics, splint therapy, muscle relaxation exercises, injection of corticosteroids, and surgery. Many potential therapies aim to help retrain you to use your jaw differently, to keep all the moving parts in their proper state of alignment. BOTOX® injections can be incredibly helpful if your symptoms are the result of muscle fatigue, since they can paralyze targeted muscles for a period of up to five months.
With TMJ disorder, the muscles of the jaw often become larger due to over-usage. After being relaxed by BOTOX®, these muscles will finally cease the unnecessary clenching that causes pain, and slowly begin to get smaller. By the time the effects of BOTOX wear off, the muscles will be smaller and not so prone to overuse.
Dentists are uniquely qualified to provide BOTOX injections, since they have extensive background in facial anatomy. Every doctor’s training and education requires them to understand how the muscles of the face and jaw work together. This means they can treat symptoms conservatively, since they know precisely which muscles to target.
Contact Us for TMJ and Headache Treatment
Many patients who suffer frequent “stress headaches” may actually be TMJ disorder sufferers. The Mayo Clinic reports that there are about three million new cases of TMJ disorder per year in the United States, so the condition is more common that you may think. If you suffer from frequent pain in the jaw, limited mobility of the jaw or mysterious head and neck pain—it may be more than just stress, and it may be treatable. Only a consultation with one of our doctors at Quality Dentistry at Walnut Pond can tell you whether you have TMJ dysfunction. Call us today at 908-200-7007 for an appointment with Dr. Victoria Uryniak or Dr. Carson Ferris-Zeolla.