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Botox for TMJ

What is TMJ and how can Botox Treat it?

The Temporomandibular joint, of TMJ, is where the jaw bone (mandible) connects to the skull (temporal bone).  Many patients feel jaw pain or discomfort along this joint.  Years of clenching your teeth, both in waking hours and while you sleep, induce an overactive masseter muscle which grows larger and induces more discomfort.  This jaw tension is most noticeable while you sleep as it causes teeth grinding, which can ultimately damage them. Research by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial has estimated that more than 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ and have associated tension headaches, pain, tension, clicking and grinding.  Botox treatment in the masseter muscle to relieve TMJ has fast become a simple, fast, and effective way to treat bruxism (teeth grinding).

Botox (botulinum toxin) has been used in Asia for years to slim the face and facial muscles by injecting directly into the masseter muscle.   Many patients seek injections of the masseter muscle to have a more elongated, slimmer, face. By injecting Botox directly into this hypertrophic (overactive) muscle, its function decreases and the symptoms of TMJ disorders diminish.  Over time, with repeat Botox injections at 3 to 5 month intervals, the masseter muscle decreases in size and the TMJ joint relaxes and the symptoms resolve.

Recommendations beyond TMJ Treatment

In addition to Botox, Dr. Michele Green recommends limiting the amount of chewing gum or sticky candy you chew since this limits jaw tension.  The masseter muscle is one of the muscles activated during chewing so limited excess chewing also helps relieve TMJ pain.   Dr. Green also recommends dental night guards as this prevents the unintentional grinding and clenching of your teeth at night, worsening of the TMJ and damage to your teeth.   Many patients have functional impairment, pain, spams, lockjaw, headaches, or difficulty chewing and don’t realize that it is from the TMJ and can be easily and successfully treated with Botox.

Botox for TMJ is injected directly into the masseter muscle.  Generally 50 units of Botox are injected (25 units on each side) as the preliminary dosage. All patients are brought back in two weeks to make sure that the muscle is frozen and to determine if additional Botox is needed in the area.  There is no pain or bruising or down time associated with these TMJ injections into the masseter muscle. It is important to repeat these Botox injections periodically to relieve the symptoms of TMJ.  In time, with the continued weakening of the muscle through these Botox injections, your symptoms will resolve.

Find out more about Botox for TMJ and contact us online today or call 212-535-3088 to learn more about how Botox can work for you.

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