Millions of Americans suffer from chronic facial and neck pain as well as severe, recurring headaches. In some cases, this pain is due to Temporomandibular Disorder, also known as TMD.
Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, connect your lower jawbone to your skull. These joints get a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement.
Symptoms of TMD include:
- Pain in the jaw area
- Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
- Frequent headaches or neck aches
- Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
- Muscle spasms in the jaw area
- A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
- Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth
If you notice that you are experiencing any of these symptoms, let your doctor know at your next appointment. Your doctor can help determine if you have TMD and create a customized treatment plan to help relieve your symptoms.
Not all jaw pain is associated with TMD.
If you feel that you might have TMD, it is always important to see your dentist and receive an exam. However, not all jaw pain is associated with TMD, and if you do not have TMD there are many different preventive steps you can take to maintain a healthy, strong smile.
- Relax your face — "Lips together, teeth apart"
- Avoid grinding your teeth
- Avoid all gum chewing
- Don't cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder — either use a headset or hold the receiver to your ear
- Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
- Do not sit with your chin rested on your hand
- Practice good posture — keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared
Many people get TMD without ever having braces. Symptoms usually wax and wane regardless of whether braces are worn. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above and are concerned that you're a candidate for TMD treatment, please contact our office for a consultation.
Botox Treatment for Jaw Pain
Normally used to erase fine lines and wrinkles, botox has also been proven to be useful in other types of treatments, including the relief of jaw pain.
What Causes Jaw Pain?
At the end of the jawbone, where it attaches to the skull, is the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ). When this joint becomes misaligned or becomes distressed from teeth grinding, a patient may suffer from a temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Those with TMD may experience a variety of symptoms, including severe headaches and jaw pain. A common treatment for TMD in adults is surgery.
How Botox Alleviates TMD
Although still in its experimental phase, Botox has proven to be effective as a non-surgical treatment for patients suffering from TMD. Small amounts of Botox, which paralyzes targeted muscles, are injected into the muscles causing the discomfort. Most patients feel a little relief in the next day or two, then continue to improve throughout the following week.
Getting Botox injections for any reason is a relatively quick procedure. The only pain associated with the treatment itself is the prick of the needle. Some patients experience some soreness or redness around the injection site, but that subsides on its own relatively quickly.
Is Botox Right for You?
Botox provides a non-surgical treatment option with little to no risk for those who suffer from TMD. To find out if it is right for you, contact our office to schedule a consultation.