What is TMJ Botox? How Botox can be the Solution to your Pain

by | Dec 22, 2022 | Botox

Are you suffering from relentless TMJ? We may have just the right solution for you. Here is some detailed information about a treatment solution that may surprise you and might just relieve those painful and stubborn TMJ symptoms. Botox.
Yes, that is correct – Botox. If you were under the impression that Botox was exclusively for esthetic treatment to alleviate wrinkles, you are not alone. Botox can provide TMJ relief too. TMJ Botox is quick, easy and mostly pain free!

TMJ muscle botox

Does this sound like you?

Waking up with tightness and soreness around your Temporomandibular joint? Facial pain and even radiating pain to other areas in your face, tension headaches and migraines, sore and stiff neck muscles? Clenching or grinding your teeth at night and feeling tightness in you jaw? If this sounds familiar and like something you are experiencing, then you may have TMJ Syndrome.

Though it is not a seriously threatening affliction and, over time, can improve on its own, it can cause a lot if discomfort for those diagnosed with it. This constant pain and jaw tension can put a strain on focus and concentration and the ability to navigate the day with success. Often, patients resort to pain medication when the pain becomes chronic and long-lasting, resorting to pain medication regularly.

TMJ pain is to be thought of as “management”. There are a few things to consider and if you think you may be experiencing such TMJ symptoms, read this to discover the benefits of Botox could offer you.

What are the symptoms to look for?

Here’s what we know…

The severity of TMJ differs greatly from patient to patient. Most will experience one, or a combination of, the following:

  • Aching – Ranging from a mild ache in either side of the jaw to a more severe pain radiating to the face, ears, eyes and temples.
  • Headaches – You may experience headaches centered in the temples as the pain radiates upward through your jaw towards your head.
  • Difficulty opening your mouth – Finding it harder than usual to open your mouth to speak or eat is a common symptom of TMJ, some will suffer even more severely with lockjaw.
  • Unusual sounds – Some TMJ patients experience an unpleasant clicking or grinding noise when speaking or eating. This will often happen as you yawn or clench your teeth together.
  • Lack of sleep – This may be more of a side effect than a symptom, however, when laying down at night puts pressure on your jaw, many will experience difficulty sleeping. This, in combination with the monotony of daily pain, can be tiring, which, in turn, puts further stress and tension on the joints, causing prolonged jaw pain.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research defines this condition and provides the following 3 classifications:

Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, commonly called “TMJ,” are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement.

Researchers generally agree that the conditions fall into three main categories:

  1. Myofascial pain involves discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function.
  2. Internal derangement of the joint involves a displaced disc, dislocated jaw, or injury to the condyle.
  3. Arthritis refers to a group of degenerative/inflammatory joint disorders that can affect the temporomandibular joint.

A person may have one or more of these conditions at the same time.

Some estimates suggest that TMJ disorders affect over 10 million Americans. These conditions appear to be more common in women than men.

What are the causes of TMJ?

botox for the masseter muscle

According to The TMJ Association, ‘Approximately 12% of the population or 35 million people in the United States are affected by TMD at any given time.’

The cause for TMJ or TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder) can vary. The origin of pain can be the actual joint itself. Basic pathologies of the TMJ involve inflammation and degeneration in arthritic disorders (irrespective of the presence or position of the disc) and structural aberrations in growth disorders.

Some internal derangements may occur independent of underlying pathology, e.g. because of a traumatic event. There can also be TMJ pain stemming from the central nervous system, which can be difficult to diagnose and treat. And lastly, TMJ pain can come from muscle tenderness from clenching.  TMJ arising from holding tension in the chewing muscles from clenching and grinding can be effectively treated with Botox, as the muscles can be targeted.

Some of the known reasons you may be experiencing this pain include, but are not limited to:

  • Clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth
  • Injuries or trauma
  • Osteomyelitis

How BOTOX can help with your TMJ pain. What is TMJ Botox and how does it work?

tmj botox injection

The common knowledge about Botox is that is used for esthetic purposes, to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Botox, (Botulinum toxin) is a neurotoxic protein derived from the botulinum toxin type A that, most often, is injected for cosmetic purposes to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles for a smoother appearance of the facial skin. The majority of those using Botox injections will choose this particular treatment for age lines that appear around the eyes, on the forehead and between the eyebrows. Another esthetic benefit is contouring the jawline for a more defined and structured appearance.

Intramuscular administration of botulinum toxin acts at the neuromuscular junction to cause muscle paralysis by inhibiting the release of acetylcholine from presynaptic motor neurons.

In essence, the underlaying facial muscles are targeted and thus reduce the amount of active wrinkles being formed. The esthetic benefits are clear.

This injectable can also be used for pain management, including the successful ease of jaw tension and chronic pain in TMJ patients.

Wondering how that works?

Here’s the answer:

When TMJ Botox injections are administered to the affected area, it works as it does in reducing lines and wrinkles. Botox works by effectively relaxing muscles so they cannot contract.

How long after the procedure will you notice a difference?

In terms of pain, the sensitivity and discomfort in your temporomandibular joint will begin to diminish within 14 days of receiving TMJ botox. Some patients report a noticeable difference within 5-7 days. As well as relief from your prolonged aching pain, you’re likely to experience a more relaxed jaw incapable of tensing to cause stress-related headaches, as well as an end to habitual teeth grinding. Botox targets the muscles that are responsible for clenching and grinding; they are called muscles of mastication (masseter, temporalis and medial pterygoid muscle).

Generally, Botox is injected in the belly of the masseter muscle and sometimes also the temporalis. A thorough TMJ exam and determination of orofacial pain or myalgia are performed prior to the injections to ensure proper targeting.

Is it a painful treatment?

Any pain experienced during the TMJ Botox procedure comes from the injections themselves. Those highly sensitive to needle pain may find it more discomforting than others. Your physician will use small needles to inject the Botox directly into the selected muscles, which can cause a small amount of swelling or bruising in the affected area.

The Procedure

Firstly, you will have a consultation with Dr. Dina Sanchez. Dr. Sanchez is a Doctor of Dental Surgery and has years of injection training as a dentist. Furthermore, Dr. Sanchez has undergone advanced training with the American Academy of Facial Esthetics and completed TMJ and Orofacial Pain training. Dr. Sanchez will conduct a thorough examination to discuss the areas to be treated. She will talk you through the procedure, discuss the areas you’re having trouble with and answer any further questions you may have before getting started.

Next, the areas to be injected will be cleaned and small marks may be made on the skin indicating the areas to be injected.

Finally, the procedure itself…

Your Botox is administered by very fine needles and injected under the skin. It’s a quick treatment that takes only minutes. The results, however, will be expected to last up to 2-6 months. After that time, it is recommended that you come in for repeated treatments to ensure you continue to experience the long term benefits of reduced lines and reduced, sometimes eradicated, jaw pain.

For your TMJ consultation, contact 410-296-4400

Dr. Dina Sanchez

Dr. Dina Sanchez

Board Certified Orthodontist

Dr. Dina Sanchez is a board certified orthodontist, mom, published author, wife, University of Maryland clinical professor, abstract artist, tooth fairy, and accidental lacrosse superfan. Learn more about Dr. D here.