Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) are two conditions that involve pain in the jaw and the muscles that surround it. Teeth grinding or overworking the joint can lead to:
- Jaw pain
- Tension headaches
Jaw tension is caused by the muscles in the jaw contracting, oftentimes without the person realizing it. Relieving this pain and discomfort typically involves the use of NSAIDs, which help mask the pain, but don’t correct the root cause of the problem. Botox has the potential to relax the masseter muscle in your jaw.
The result? Relief from your TMD/TMJ.
Botox and Areas of Injection for TMD/TMJ
Botox injections are given to relax the muscles in the jaw, primarily the masseter muscle, so that you’re not clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth. The treatment is localized, so no other areas of the body are impacted.
Depending on the severity of your condition, injections may be given in the following areas:
As a non-surgical procedure, injections are quick and require an outpatient visit to the doctor. You can go into the office and leave once the shots are administered. Typically, you’ll notice an improvement in as little as a day or as long as a week, depending on the severity of your symptoms.
If you have lock jaw, Botox can even help minimize the condition.
Your Botox procedure can take as little as 10 minutes or as long as 30 minutes, depending on the number of injections that are required.
What to Expect Following Your Botox Injections
Botox injections are not painful and feel like a prick of a needle for most people. The lower jaw or face benefits from the relaxed muscle, with wrinkles in the area starting to diminish within 24 to 48 hours.
TMD/TMJ tenderness and pain often starts to dissipate during this time.
Injections can cause the following, short-lived side effects:
- Bruising at the injection site
- Redness at the injection site
- Numbness around the sites
It’s important not to massage the area or rub the injection site for a few hours after the injection to prevent the Botox from spreading to other muscles. You can return to your normal activity immediately following your injections.
Maximum effects of your injections can take seven to 10 days.
Studies on Botox for TMD/TMJ
You’ll find a lot of positive stories of people finding relief from their TMD or TMJ with one round of Botox injections. While Botox is known for its cosmetic benefits, it is a muscle relaxant that has been used for a variety of muscular conditions.
It works so well for TMD because it immobilizes the masseter muscles that are responsible for opening and closing your jaw.
A review of studies in 2015 found that long-term relief from TMD was provided, and participants used less pain medication during the 16-week study. More than 70% of participants experienced a 50% or greater reduction in pain and frequency after Botox injections.
If TMJ is causing you to have headaches, facial pain, sore cheeks, swelling, pain around the ears and neck or other pain, Botox injections have been shown to improve symptoms in 90% of people. You’ll benefit from less pain and discomfort with fewer wrinkles, too.