Botox For TMJ: A Basic Guide

Do you struggle with TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain? This sharp or sometimes aching feeling in your jaw can make it hard to eat, talk, and even sleep. Mouthguards can help some patients. Other patients really benefit from having their bites adjusted. But what if you have tried both of these things and you still feel pain and discomfort in your jaw on a regular basis? Then you might want to look into another treatment that is working well for many TMJ patients: Botox. 

What Is Botox?

Botox is a treatment made from neurotoxins that are released by a species of botulinum bacteria. When injected into certain tissues, it binds to nerve endings in that region, and in doing so, it paralyzes the muscles in that area. Botox has long been used for the treatment of wrinkles and fine lines, but it also has other uses. One of these uses is in the management of TMJ pain. When injected into the muscles associated with the TMJ, it temporarily paralyzes those muscles. This can ease the pain associated with TMJ disorder.

How Long Do Botox Injections Last?

The effects of these injections last several months. You'll get a better idea, after your first injection, of how long the effects will last for you. (It's a bit different for everyone.) When the pain and discomfort of TMJ start coming back, you can schedule an appointment with a dentist for another round of injections. Some patients find that each round of injections lasts longer than the last. For example, your first round of injections might last two or three months, but your second round might last four months.

Will Botox Permanently Get Rid of TMJ Pain?

Most patients do not get permanent relief from one or several rounds of Botox. They need ongoing, repeated treatments in order to get lasting effects. However, there are rare cases in which TMJ clears up more permanently after Botox. The injections may allow the muscles to relax enough that the tension on the joint is eased and some of the associated damage to ligaments and tendons has a chance to heal. Every case of TMJ is a bit different and responds differently to Botox, so you won't know if it will work this way for you until you give it a try.

If you have been struggling to find effective TMJ care, then you should consider Botox injections. Talk to your dentist to learn more about Botox.