It may surprise you to learn that at Ivory Dental, our Lethbridge dentists sometimes use BOTOX to treat Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ), a disorder of the jaw joint. Read on to find out how it works.
What is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, and connects your jawbone to your skull.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders cause pain or discomfort in the jaw, and in the muscles that control jaw movement, as a result of stress on this joint.
TMJ can be caused by injuries to the teeth or jaw, misalignment of the teeth or jaw, teeth grinding or clenching, poor posture, stress, arthritis, and even gum chewing.
What is BOTOX®?
BOTOX® is a drug prepared from the bacterial toxin botulin. In extremely small concentrations, Botulin can be safely injected into humans. It is used medically to treat certain muscular conditions, and it is also used cosmetically to remove wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing facial muscles.
BOTOX® works by preventing signals from the nerve cells from reaching the muscles, thereby temporarily paralyzing them.
How does BOTOX® help treat TMJ?
When the jaw joint becomes overworked, injured or misaligned, and TMJ develops, you may suffer from severe tension headaches, as well as sharp pains in the jaw.
BOTOX® is used as an alternative treatment for TMJ disorders. When BOTOX® is injected into the muscles associated with the jaw joint, it can help relieve the jaw tension and pain for many patients.
The injections may also help to eliminate the headaches that result from teeth grinding, and have even been shown to minimize the effects of lock jaw.
While it’s important to note that the efficacy of BOTOX® treatment for TMJ conditions is currently still being studied, evidence so far indicates that it can be very effective.