Botox was once reserved for lessening the tell-tale signs of ageing - such as annoying wrinkles and frown lines - but these days you can opt for Botox treatments for therapeutic reasons as well (like treating TMJ and jaw tension issues).
Botox injections have become a great alternative treatment for patients suffering from troublesome maladies like TMD (which may include a headache, clenching/grinding, and sleep bruxism).
The temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) is located on both sides of the head at the point where the jawbone meets the skull. The temporo-mandibular joint is used during talking, eating, swallowing, and other everyday activities. If this joint becomes displaced or is overworked through excessive teeth grinding, a person may suffer severe tension headaches, as well as sharp pain in the jaw.
Scientific studies have shown that patients who received Botox injections experienced significant improvements in pain levels, jaw function, and levels of tenderness to touch. Botox relieves jaw tension by making muscles unable to engage in the powerful, often the unconscious movement of the jaw that produces headaches and pain.
Botox is injected into the temporalis, frontal, and masseter muscles that together can cause jaw pain and headaches. Botox works by blocking nerve signals that cause uncontrollable muscle movements, essentially relaxing the muscles.
Botox injections take only 10 to 15 minutes and remain effective for anywhere between two to six months. The frequency of treatment required will depend on each individual patient and the severity of symptoms.
Most patients who receive Botox treatment regularly for more than a year notice that as time goes on, they can go longer between each treatment. The need for Botox treatment can decrease from 3-4 times per year initially, to maintenance treatments of 1-2 times a year.
The benefits of Botox treatment for TMD are many. For people suffering from soreness and pain resulting from problems with the temporo-mandibular joint, Botox injections often provide substantial relief. While reducing the ability of facial muscles to engage in problematic grinding, Botox doesn’t interfere with the ability to perform daily activities as usual - such as talking, chewing, and swallowing. This makes the Botox treatment for jaw tension a convenient and effective option for many people.
In addition, the treatment can help safeguard dental health, since excessive grinding can result in worn down teeth and damaged gums that may require costly treatment over time.
While botox treatment for TMJ disorders appears to be safe, certain medications, intoxicants, and other substances can minimize or negatively impact the effectiveness of Botox injections. For this reason, patients should honestly disclose any medication or substance use with our dentists prior to treatment. Although complications are rare, in some cases patients have experienced bruising and bleeding at injection sites, or excessive paralysis of the muscles in the areas treated.
The cost of the Botox TMD treatment will vary based on where you live and receive treatment, and the severity of your condition (and therefore, how many Botox injections are needed). Botox treatment is usually charged on a per-visit basis.
Many dental insurance companies accept Botox TMD treatments, however, all patients should check their individual policies. If your insurance policy does not cover Botox treatments for TMJ and other therapeutic uses, you may be able to access other financing options. Speak with our friendly, knowledgeable staff at Viva Dental Cambridge in Cambridge to learn about options you may have access to.
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