You’ve probably heard of Botox® for cosmetic purposes, helping you look younger. But have you heard of therapeutic Botox for facial pain, headaches and even temporomandibular (TMJ) disorders? Botox for TMJ disorder may relieve common symptoms such as teeth clenching and headaches.
How does Botox work?
Botox reduces the activity of facial muscles.
Typically, it’s used for cosmetic purposes and minimizes the appearance of:
- Age lines around the eyes or forehead
- Frown lines
Occasionally Botox is also combined with dermal fillers to restore a youthful glow and can also be used for therapeutic purposes. Since its primary function is to relax facial muscles, it can help relieve pain from tight jaws and other facial muscles that cause tension and headaches.
In addition, Botox is currently being used to treat over twenty different medical conditions.
Does Botox work for TMJ disorders (TMD)?
If you weren’t sure Botox could be used for both cosmetic and therapeutic medical treatment, you’re not alone! Before we go into how it works for TMJ disorders, let’s discuss what TMJ is. Your Temporomandibular Joint acts as a hinge for your mouth, letting you eat and talk freely. But with TMJ disorder, you may experience:
- Sore cheeks and jaw
- Teeth clenching or grinding
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Tension headaches
Keep in mind that Botox relaxes muscles. In patients with TMJ disorder symptoms, it helps relax tense jaw muscles and alleviates pain. It’s typically recommended as a complementary treatment to other TMJ disorder therapy but it may be all you need for certain symptoms.
In addition, Botox for TMJ disorder symptoms can last up to three months.
TMJ Appliance Therapy
At Smile Nuvo, Dr.Erica Elannan recommends and fabricates a splint which fits on the upper jaw and makes contact with only the six lower front teeth thereby preventing the back teeth from touching and also eliminating both clenching and grinding. It is generally worn only at night because constant wear may allow the back (posterior) teeth to shift. This appliance essentially deprograms the muscles or erases the muscle memory responsible for clenching and grinding by preventing habitual function.