Not Just for Wrinkles: How Botox Can Help With TMD

You might have noticed that more and more dental clinics now offer Botox. Many Botox treatments at a dental clinic are purely cosmetic—when a patient simply wants to minimise the fine lines and wrinkles on their face. However, Botox has many applications specific to dentistry. If you suffer from the ongoing discomfort caused by temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), why might your dentist suggest Botox?

Muscles and Joints

TMD is a disorder related to the muscles that operate your jaw and the joints that connect your jaw to your skull. These muscles and joints have become strained, and this strain leads to discomfort, which can range from barely noticeable to excruciating. This discomfort is usually centred around the affected muscles and joints, but may be felt elsewhere. You might experience headaches, pain in your mouth (unrelated to a toothache) and even dizziness. 

Treating the Clinical Cause

A dentist will try to identify a clear clinical cause for your TMD. For example, a damaged (or missing tooth) can result in malocclusion, when your upper and lower teeth do not align properly when your mouth is closed. This malocclusion changes the set of your jaw, leading to considerable strain on your temporomandibular joints. If a clinical cause is evident, your dentist will correct this (by treating the tooth in question), and your TMD should subside.

Pain Signals

However, a clear clinical cause isn't always obvious, and many instances of TMD cannot be conclusively traced back to their source. This is when Botox can be very beneficial, as it's essentially strategic muscle paralysis. The effect of Botox obstructs pain signals in treated nerves and muscles from reaching your brain, thus creating considerable relief for your strained temporomandibular joints and associated muscles.

Receiving Botox

Your dentist will inject Botox into your jaw muscles. If your TMD has resulted in recurring headaches, you may also receive an injection in your forehead. Yes, this might result in some minimisation of fine lines and wrinkles, although this is not the primary purpose of the treatment. After injection, Botox takes several days to reach its full capacity. Your relief won't be immediate, but it certainly won't take long.

Additional Treatment

As is the case with cosmetic Botox, the effects are not permanent when it's used to treat TMD. You can expect to need additional treatment after several months, although the precise schedule will vary. 

When other forms of intervention are unable to offer relief, Botox can offer comprehensive relief for the discomfort associated with TMD. Contact a local dentist to learn more about Botox treatment options.

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