Botox For TMD/TMJ

What are temporomandibular joints (TMJs)?

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the 2 joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull. More specifically, they are the joints that slide and rotate in front of each ear, and consist of the mandible (the lower jaw) and the temporal bone (the side and base of the skull). The TMJs are among the most complex joints in the body. These joints, along with several muscles, allow the mandible to move up and down, side to side, and forward and back. When the mandible and the joints are properly aligned, smooth muscle actions, such as chewing, talking, yawning, and swallowing, can take place. When these structures (muscles, ligaments, disk, jaw bone, temporal bone) are not aligned, nor synchronized in movement, several problems may occur.

What is temporomandibular disorder (TMD)?

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are disorders of the jaw muscles, temporomandibular joints, and the nerves associated with chronic facial pain. Any problem that prevents the complex system of muscles, bones, and joints from working together in harmony may result in temporomandibular disorder.

What causes TMD?

In many cases, the actual cause of this disorder may not be clear. Sometimes the main cause is excessive strain on the jaw joints and the muscle group that controls chewing, swallowing, and speech. This strain may be a result of bruxism, which is the habitual, involuntary clenching or grinding of the teeth. Stress is a leading cause of bruxism in many patients. Bruxism leads to overstimulation of the masseter muscles (the large muscles that move the jaw), which can lead to tension and pain. Bruxism can also lead to harmful damages to teeth, such as accelerated wear and tear, or even early tooth loss.

What are the signs and symptoms of TMD?

  • Jaw discomfort or soreness (often most prevalent in the morning or late afternoon)
  • Headaches
  • Pain spreading behind the eyes, in the face, shoulder, neck, and/or back
  • Earaches or ringing in the ears (not caused by an infection of the inner ear canal)
  • Clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Limited mouth motions
  • Clenching or grinding of the teeth
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity of the teeth without the presence of an oral health disease
  • Numbness or tingling sensation in the fingers
  • A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together

How can Botox help?

By injecting Botox directly into the masseter muscles), the muscle is weakened enough to stop involuntary grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw without affecting the normal functions of chewing. This significantly relaxes the muscle and reduces the wear and tear on the teeth due to grinding. Botox is a great therapeutic option to alleviate pain and wear in TMD patient

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