Botox/TMJ Pain


Many patients are wondering what Botox is doing in a Dentist office and what it is used for?

Botox injections aren’t just for wrinkle reduction. Many patients are turning to Botox injections for TMJ and/or migraine relief. Botox is used as an alternative treatment for TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders and associated jaw tension and pain. When injected into facial muscles afflicted with soreness and discomfort, Botox relieves TMJ pain and jaw tension for many patients. The injections often eliminate headaches resulting from teeth grinding. Although Botox treatment for these conditions is fairly new, evidence indicates that it can be extremely effective.

 This is how Botox can be helpful in TMJ pain treatment.
Botox relieves jaw tension by relaxing the muscles and make them unable to engage in the unconscious movement of the jaw that produces headaches and pain. The injections help relax the muscles around that joint, help you stop grinding your teeth, and virtually eliminate headaches related to TMJ and the surrounding muscles.
First, Dr. Do will do a consultation with you, focusing more on the head, neck, and on the TMJ exam. If you do fall in the category of patients that would benefit from Botox injections for TMJ pain and headaches, then he will make a recommendations accordingly and the procedure can take anywhere from ten minutes to a half an hour. Most patients report that the injections feel like a small insect sting.

Immediately after your injection, you may feel a bit of soreness or tenderness, but you can put a cold pack around injection sites to help reduce swollen. There may also be some minor bruising or tenderness. Some patients reported that they felt more sore for 1-2 days after getting injection, before they start feeling better. In addition, the injection site will be sorer for 1-2 days because Dr. Do has to slide the needle into the affected muscle to deliver the Botox and this can cause an increase in irritation to the sore muscles.  Once the Botox binds into the muscles and stops the overactive muscle contraction activities then you will start to feel better.

Within the following 4-7 days, you may feel less tense in the jaw muscles and muscles that are associated with the TMJ.  Finally, after a week, your TMJ symptoms should start to feel better. For some patients, it takes up to 2 weeks for the symptoms to improve. As with all therapies the dosage required for maximum affect varies from patient to patient. A standard baseline dosage is injected during the initial treatment but that standard dosage may need to be increased with additional injections if the desired affect is not achieved. To continue the effects, you usually need to return for repeat treatments in 4 months.

What Are the Side Effects of Botox Injections for TMJ?

There can be minor side effects of this procedure. Some patients experience headaches or nausea. Others find the injections painful or get bothered by redness or bruising at the site of the injections.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should avoid these treatments. Additionally, some patients develop antibodies, and that can make future injections less effective.

If you think you have TMD, clenching or grinding and want to discuss Botox injections for TMJ or other treatment options, please contact our office.