FAQs About TMJ Disorder And Botox Injections

Do you have temporomandibular joint disorder (also known as TMJD)?  You don't have to live with the pain, facial discomfort, and difficulty chewing that TMJD can cause. Whether you have a new diagnosis or other treatments haven't worked, take a look at what you need to know about TMJD, Botox, and how your dentist can help.

What Is TMJD?

Before you choose or start a treatment, you may need to know more about your TMJ disorder. As the name implies, this common dental/facial condition affects the temporomandibular joint. This joint connects the jawbone to the skull, allowing your mouth to open and close easily. While there is no universal cause of TMJ disorders, this condition is often the result of jaw injury, arthritis, genetics, bruxism (grinding your teeth), jaw clenching, or a combination of these factors.

How Can You Treat TMJ Disorder?

Like the causes, you won't find one universal treatment for this jaw disorder. Some people respond well to conservative measures such as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications or the use of night-time mouth guards, while others may need injections or surgery. Your dentist will evaluate your jaw, discuss your pain level, ask you about other symptoms that interfere with your daily life, look at other treatments you may have tried, and help you to make an informed decision about the next steps.

How Can Botox Help TMJ Disorder?

Botulinum toxin injections or therapy is something you've likely always associated with cosmetic anti-wrinkle treatments. Even though botulinum toxin type A is an injectable that can smooth your facial skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines (such as forehead wrinkles, frown lines, and crow's feet), it also has dental benefits.

Botulinum therapy works by relaxing the facial muscles. The injectable blocks nerve signals, stopping contractions. This can stop hyperactivity of the facial muscles and the temporomandibular joint.

Even though this medication is not yet FDA-approved to use for TMJ disorders, some research does show that it is effective. A 2017 literature review published in the Journal of Dentistry found that several studies show benefits of botulinum injections such as the reduction of TMJ-related clicking sounds, pain, and dysfunction. 

Are Botulinum Injections Right For You?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Start with your dentist. Before you consider botulinum therapy, you will need a TMJ disorder diagnosis. After the dentist diagnoses this disorder, they will review the different treatment options that best match your individual healthcare needs and dental symptoms. If they feel that you are a candidate for botulinum therapy, your dentist can explain the risks and benefits of this injectable. 

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