When you think of Botox, chances are you do not think of the dentist’s chair.
While Botox is most often associated with wrinkle treatment, there is also a very effective application for TMJ/TMD.
TMJ/TMD is short for temporomandibular joint disorder and it can cause mild to severe pain in and around the jaw joint, jaw muscles as well as facial muscles which can lead to limited most opening, pain upon opening and chronic headaches. TMJ/TMD is usually developed by overworking the jaw, stress or excessive teeth grinding/clenching (bruxisim). It can also be a side effect of jaw joint displacement due to the muscles around the jaw becoming inflamed, tired, or just angry.
Botox works to calm these jaw muscles. The active ingredients in Botox effectively “freezes” the muscles so that they can no longer seize up and cause discomfort. “I tell my patients that their jaw muscles will stop working out like Arnold Schwarzenegger and instead take a little siesta,” says Dr. Holloway. “Most of my patients who suffer from TMJ/TMD are teeth grinders or clenchers. Often they don’t even realize they are clenching or grinding. The Botox allows those muscles to relax so that the pain goes away or is drastically reduced.”
Because the action of grinding and clenching your teeth is often involuntary, patients who use Botox for TMJ/TMD pain don’t notice any decrease in function of their jaw or mouth. The ability to chew, speak, smile and kiss is not affected. Botox simply relieves the jaw joint and surrounding structures by decreasing the strength of the overworking muscles and therefore eliminates/lessens pain.
“Before I started doing Botox for my TMJ, I could not bite into a sandwich without sever lock-jaw and pain,” says Floss patient, Sarah Porter. “Within the first 48 hours of getting Botox in my jaw muscles, the pain when eating was totally gone.”
Botox for chronic headaches and migraines
Patients who continually clench/grind their teeth often suffer from headaches rather than jaw pain. In addition to providing a night guard, Doc will often administer Botox into the jaw muscles. This prevents the muscles from being able to involuntarily clench, which prevents headaches.
“Botox for migraine and headache pain has been a game-changer for my patients,” Dr. Holloway said. “When you take anti-inflammatories like Ibuprofen, it just relieves the pain for that one headache. Botox serves as headache prevention for several months.”
Botox generally lasts in the body for three to four months depending on the dosage and a patient’s sensitivity to the treatment. Once administered, it takes 24 – 96 hours to achieve full effectiveness. Patients are encouraged not to work out or do any type of heavy physical activity in the first 24 hours after administration. Botox injections are done in-office at Floss by the Doctor and only take about 10 minutes. Botox is not covered by insurance, however Floss does quarterly specials, so be on the lookout!
“I would highly recommend Botox for anyone suffering from TMJ,” says Porter. “It has made a huge difference in my quality of life and I would never go back!”
If you suffer from jaw pain or headaches, book your consultation with Floss to see if you may be a candidate for pain relief through Botox.