How Does Botox Help With TMJ?

Most people think of Botox as only a cosmetic treatment since it is so popular as a wrinkle smoother, but it also has many non-cosmetic medical uses. Research supports the use of Botox to treat a number of muscular issues in the head and neck, including conditions that cause spasms in the larynx, neck, and eyelid, as well as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).

What is Botox?

Botox is actually a neurotoxin made by a bacterium, Clostridium botulinum. When used in small doses, it has medical and cosmetic benefits. Botox is a brand name, but it’s the name we hear most because it was the first injectable version of the toxin. It works by blocking the communication from the nerves to the muscles. Without instructions from the nerve, the muscle can’t contract; it stays relaxed.

When used for cosmetic reasons, Botox relaxes the muscles that contribute to wrinkles. That’s why it’s so effective in erasing forehead lines. It works the same way for medical uses. By affecting certain nerves and muscles, Botox can relieve the symptoms of a variety of conditions.

What Is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your jawbone to your skull. Each side of your jaw has a temporomandibular joint, and together they move like a kind of sliding hinge. TMJ disorders cause pain and stiffness in the joints and muscles that move the jaw. Symptoms may include:

  • Aching in and around your ear
  • Popping or clicking of the joint when you talk, chew, or yawn
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Facial pain
  • Locking of the joint
  • Pain in one or both joints
  • Pain while chewing
  • Painful or tender jaw

With symptoms like those, TMJ disorders can be disruptive to your day-to-day life.

How Does Botox Help TMJ?

Your TMJs can become overworked or displaced, causing pain in the jaw and tension headaches. When Botox is injected into the muscles causing your jaw pain and other symptoms, the muscles relax.

The muscles responsible for your symptoms are usually the frontalis (forehead), temporalis (above the ears), and masseter muscles. The masseter muscles connect the lower jaw and the cheekbone on each side of your face. They play an essential part in chewing and closing the mouth.

When Botox is injected into the masseter muscles, it reduces clenching, tension, and pain in the jaw. It can also stop teeth grinding and relieve headaches.

Most people feel improvement in a day or two after injections.

Sometimes the medical and cosmetic uses of Botox overlap. Injections into the masseter muscles also reduce the size of the muscles and are used cosmetically to slim the face.

What Else Can Botox Treat?

Although Botox is known chiefly as a wrinkle smoother, it has a surprising number of non-cosmetic medical uses as well. Aside from TMJ relief, Botox is used medically to treat health problems like:

  • Blepharospasm, chronic uncontrollable eyelid twitching or blinking
  • Cervical dystonia, a neurological disorder causing severe muscle contractions in the neck and shoulder
  • Chronic migraine
  • Hyperhidrosis, severe underarm sweating
  • Muscle contractures
  • Overactive bladder
  • Strabismus, misaligned eyes (crossed eyes)
  • Upper limb spasticity

How Does Treatment Work?

Botox injections are quick and done with a small needle in the office. You won’t need pain medications but can use cool compresses for the discomfort and to reduce your chances of swelling. After the injections, it’s important to stay upright for several hours and avoid rubbing or scratching the injection sites.

Side effects can include:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea
  • Pain at the injection sites
  • Redness and bruising at the injection sites
  • Respiratory infection
  • Temporary drooping eyelid

You may start to notice relief within one to five days. Relief typically lasts from three to twelve months. You may need three or more injection visits over several months.

Make a Botox Appointment with Raw Beauty

TMJ is not only painful, but it can disrupt your ability to talk, yawn, and chew. Botox injections are safe and effective when other treatments haven’t relieved your symptoms. Many people with TMJ find better relief using a combination of treatments. Ask us how Botox can fit into your treatment plan. Our staff at Raw Beauty Aesthetics look forward to answering your questions about Botox injections at our office in Woodland Hills.

To make an appointment, call (818) 446-6111 or click the Book Now button on our website.

A patient receiving a Botox injection treatment in the masseter to treat grinding teeth.

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