Mention “Botox” (the neuromodulator Botulinum Neurotoxin Type A or “BoNt-A”) sold in North America as Botox® or Dysport®, and the average person thinks immediately of wrinkles. Recently however, BoNt-A has become an increasingly popular TMD treatment. Although some TMD symptoms may improve without any specific treatment, BoNt-A offers fast and long-lasting relief for those that do not. 

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), are notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat. Many of the related symptoms, such as headaches and earaches, often lead doctors to diagnose a sinus condition, as opposed to a problem with the jaw joint.  TMD symptoms often change in severity, depending on how much stress the sufferer is experiencing.  During an intensely stressful period, grinding teeth, debilitating headaches, and lockjaw may occur.  BoNt-A injections are sometimes an effective and painless way to alleviate tension in the temporomandibular joint, reducing jaw pain, headaches, and suffering.

Here are several of the major benefits BoNt-A offers TMD sufferers:

  • Elimination of headaches caused by nighttime grinding.
  • Minimization of lockjaw.
  • Reduced discomfort when using the jaw.
  • Reduced shoulder and neck pain.
  • Substantially reduced jaw tension.

How does BoNt-A therapy work?

The temporomandibular joint is located on both sides of the head where the skull adjoins the jawbone.  This joint is constantly being used for a variety of daily activities, such as chewing, biting, speaking, and swallowing.  The most prominent causes of TMD are jaw displacement and stress-related involuntary jaw movements.  BoNt-A expediently alleviates temporomandibular tension by relaxing the jaw muscles, thus preventing unconscious jaw movement and ending grinding-related headaches.

One of the major advantages of BoNt-A is that normal functions such as speaking, swallowing, and biting are left unaffected.  The only major change is the reduction in pain and discomfort.  In addition, controlling TMD can also prevent serious dental problems from occurring later. TMD, if left untreated, can contribute to recession, teeth fractures, and the loosening of teeth.

What’s involved when getting BoNt-A injections?

Prior to administering Botox® or Dysport® injections, the dentist needs to check the patient’s suitability for treatment. When used in conjunction with certain medications and substances, BoNt-A may not produce the desired results.  It is exceptionally important therefore, to be honest about prior medical history. BoNt-A treatment is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.

The injections take 10-20 minutes to administer, depending on the amount required. Because it is non-surgical, the procedure will be performed at the dental office and driving ability will not be impaired by the treatment. 

Normal activity can be resumed immediately after the treatment, but strenuous activity should be avoided for 24 hours after treatment. It may take several days to feel the full benefits of the treatment, but Botox® or Dysport® will continue to work for up to 3-4 months. 

If you have any questions or concerns about TMD or BoNt-A treatment, please contact our office.