Jaw pain may be caused by an accident or injury, but it’s also just as likely to originate from a chronic condition like grinding the teeth or clenching the jaw. This results in pain in the temporomandibular joint, or the TMJ. TMJ issues can affect people of any age and need prompt treatment to keep the symptoms under control. Don’t let TMJ interrupt your enjoyment of life when simple injections of Botox could give you lasting relief from pain. Learn more about this opportunity for TMJ treatment from us here at Eastgate Dental Excellence.
What is the Temporomandibular Joint?
This joint is on the side of your jaw, helping it slide back and forth so you can chew, talk, and more. There is a temporomandibular joint on either side of your face, creating the potential for even inflammation or one-sided pain. The joint is strong yet prone to soreness and inflammation from stress. Overuse is a problem for some people, but jaw clenching and tooth grinding issues are more common. Anything that makes it hard for you to relax can also lead to soreness, tightness, or swelling in the TMJ. Accidents and misaligned bite patterns can also lead to these problems. You may not notice the symptoms at first, but getting treatment before the pain is steady and constant will make it easier to get good results.
Symptoms of TMJ Issues
Inflammation or swelling of the TMJ causes a number of issues, not all of which are obviously linked to your jaw. This can make it a little tricky to narrow down the cause and determine whether you need a TMJ treatment or something else. Some of the symptoms may be linked to tooth decay, sleep apnea, or other issues your dentist can also help you with. Seeing your dentist will help you best determine what’s causing symptoms like:
- Stiffness and difficulty opening the jaw
- Ringing in the ears, also known as tinnitus
- Tenderness and pain in the jaw
- Earaches without any other complications
- Clicking and popping noises when the jaw is moved
- Getting your jaw stuck in an open or closed position
- Swelling on one side of your face
- Recurring headaches or even migraines
- Vertigo and dizziness
- Pain and difficulty chewing.
How Does Botox Work?
Botox is a treatment that involves small injections of a mild toxin that helps immobilize the muscle tissue under the skin. While many people know of it as a potential treatment for wrinkles, it’s also helpful in conditions like TMJ disorder. Since this condition involves clenching and chronic tightness of the muscles that activate the TMJ, a few well-placed Botox injections can make a big difference. With a long history of use to prove it’s a safe and effective treatment for many people that try it, Botox is a good option for TMJ disorders that don’t seem to be responding to home remedies like ice packs and jaw stretches.
Potential for TMJ Relief
The potential for relief from TMJ pain comes from the treatment’s ability to reduce inflammation in the muscle tissue around the joint. While the Botox is gently paralyzing some of the muscle tissue in the area, studies have found that mouth movements are actually increased in the months after the treatment. This means you could be laughing, smiling, and chewing normally again after just a few injections from the dentist. Having a professional knowledgeable in TMJ treatment administering the Botox will produce the best results because the right parts of the tissue will be targeted.
How Long Will It Last?
Botox doesn’t last forever, but this is generally a good thing because it gives your TMJ disorder a chance to heal naturally as you reduce stress and deal with night-grinding issues. Most studies find that patients enjoy between 3 and 6 months of relief from their TMJ pain after getting this treatment. Follow up with other ways of managing this condition to ensure the pain doesn’t return as the effects fade off after a few months.
Combining Botox and Other TMJ Treatments
It’s best to determine the cause of the TMJ inflammation and treat it at the source. While Botox injections are a quick way to deal with serious pain, they’re not a permanent fix. The dentist can recommend other treatments like night-grinding mouthguards, tooth realignment treatments, and potentially even jaw surgery. All of these treatments can be combined with Botox as needed for maximum effect. Talk to your dentist about your TMJ symptoms to determine exactly what treatments will work best to solve your stiffness, pain, and clicking for good.
Only the dentist can determine if Botox is the right choice for your TMJ, but there’s a good chance it will help. Schedule an appointment with us here at Eastgate Dental Excellence to discover what’s going on with your jaw health and how to deal with any pain or stiffness you might be experiencing.