Your temporomandibular joint—or TMJ—is the hinge-like joint on either side of your jaw, just in front of your ears. Although you might not realise it, you move your TMJ thousands of times per day. Every time you eat, laugh, yawn, smile, or talk, your TMJ moves. And unlike a lot of other major joints in your body, this one goes in a variety of different directions.
People with TMJ disorder (TMD or TMJD) experience difficulty opening and closing their mouth, making it difficult to eat or talk. It can also lead to painful side effects. Fortunately, the best treatment for TMJ disorder is non-surgical in nature.
Most causes of TMJ pain or TMD are related to overuse of the joint. For instance, if you grind and clench your teeth often (bruxism), it can strain the tissues around your TMJ. Excessive muscle tension can also radiate into the face, scalp, and neck. People who have stressful lifestyles or suffer from anxiety tend to clench their teeth more frequently, causing TMJ symptoms to develop.
Sleep apnoea is another common cause of TMJD. Since airway blockage triggers contraction in the jaw, you may be clenching your teeth at night when you sleep.
We also occasionally see TMJ disorders related to arthritis, bone diseases, and trauma.
One of the best non-surgical treatments for TMJ discomfort is using a dermal filler like Botox. As a natural muscle relaxant, botulinum toxin can ease muscle tension for several months at a time. No prescription muscle relaxers are necessary! You can combine your Botox treatment with other non-surgical therapies such as bite splints or night guards to lessen muscle tension while you sleep.
Botox is a non-invasive alternative to TMJ surgery. Mild soreness at the injection site is temporary and easy to manage with a cool compress or over-the-counter pain reliever.
Your first Botox treatment typically takes several days to begin seeing the effects, but when applied semi-frequently, it’s easier to help maintain results for several months at a time. The way it works is by slightly and temporarily paralysing the muscle tissue around your jaw, easing how tense they are. In turn, you experience improved relaxation around your TMJ as well as throughout your face, scalp, and neck.
Most of our TMJ clients see results for up to 6 months at a time. By applying Botox at regular points throughout the year, we can maintain your results on a consistent basis.
Find out if Botox for TMJ pain and headaches is right for you. Book a consultation at Hawthorn Road Family Dental today to learn more.