Botox for TMJ

Posted On: April 22, 2014 Author: Las Vegas Orthodontics

Temporo-mandibular joint disorders (TMJ) can cause pain for their sufferers, ranging from mild stiffness of the jaw, to severe and limiting tension headaches. The use of Botox injections in treating TMJ is still experimental, and considered an alternative treatment. Many people that have been given Botox for TMJ have found it helpful, with relief after as little as 2-3 days.


How Does Botox Work to Treat TMJ and Jaw Tension?

Your temporo-mandibular joint is located where your jawbone meets your skull, on both sides of your head. We use it for many everyday activities, including:

  • Eating
  • Swallowing
  • Talking
  • Smiling

People with a TMJ disorder will, often unconsciously, clench or grind their teeth, overworking their TMJ. This causes many issues, including:

  • Facial stiffness
  • Neck pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches

Botox for TMJ is typically a straightforward, quick, and effective alternative treatment. Not being considered a surgical procedure, Botox is performed in the doctor’s office, and patients can resume their day within a few hours of the Botox injections. Most patients will notice an improvement within 1-2 days, and significant improvement is typically noticed within a week.

What Areas Are Affected by the Botox Injections?

The only areas that get “relaxed” by the Botox are the areas that we inject. The Botox for TMJ won’t affect any other parts of your body. The Botox injections are typically in the frontalis, the masseter, and the temporalis. Depending upon the severity of the pain your TMJ causes you, additional sites may need to receive Botox injections.

What to Expect

During your procedure, which will take approximately 10-30 minutes, you will receive a series of injections containing Botox. These injections are like any other needle—they hurt, but not much, and not for long. If you suffer from a fear of, or aversion to, needles, tell your doctor, and they may have suggestions, such as numbing the area, or Happy Gas.

After your Botox treatment, you can expect:

  • Muscle tenderness to disappear almost immediately
  • Wrinkles to disappear after 24-48 hours
  • Some mild and temporary bruising, numbness and redness around injection sites

While recovering from your Botox injections for TMJ, most patients can return to normal activities immediately. You should avoid rubbing or massaging the area, however, and remain upright, for many hours. It is also recommended that you limit physical activity for the day.

Risks & Limitations of Botox for TMJ

Botox being a non-invasive procedure, the risks are minimal, infrequent, and temporary. These include:

  • Headache
  • Respiratory infections
  • Nausea
  • Temporary eye-lid droop
  • Pain and redness

These side effects don’t always occur, but if they do, they typically disappear within a week.
Botox should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation.

If you have any other questions about Botox for TMJ, ask your Las Vegas, NV orthodontist.

(Image and excerpt from “The Beauty of Facial Esthetics”)

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