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How Botox Treatments Can Help with TMJ Disorder

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You have likely heard about Botox in the context of making people appear younger. Otherwise known as Botulinum toxin, Botox is a drug that temporarily prevents muscles from moving. Once injected, its effects can last anywhere between three to twelve months. But it isn’t just how it temporarily smoothes facial wrinkles that makes Botox such a force. Doctors are able to use it to treat various health problems, including chronic migraines and cervical dystonia. Alternatively, oral and maxillofacial surgeons can use these injections to help with TMJ disorder. We are going to take a look at what Botox treatments do to improve the state of your jaw.

What are the symptoms of TMJ disorder?

If you are often enduring pain or tenderness in your jaw, it may be the case that you have a TMJ disorder. This is something that you will need to talk to your dentist about. They may direct you toward a TMJ specialist for an official diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

TMJ disorder can be caused by bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching), an improper bite, or injury to the jaw joints. As the temporomandibular joint locks, it makes it difficult to open and close your mouth. When your muscles tense up due to stress, it exacerbates the problem. TMJ is highly sensitive to stress, whether it is caused by physical or emotional factors. Other signs of TMJ disorder include experiencing a clicking sound or grating sensation when you talk or chew. This can be painful, making it difficult to eat and perform other daily functions.

Studies show that temporomandibular joint disorder can affect 5 to 12% of the population.

Are there at-home tips for relieving TMJ?

You experience a lot of jaw movement in a given day. Think about how much you have eaten, spoken, or yawned today, alone. Further, think about how many times you experienced discomfort from any of these regular activities. For those with a mild case of TMJ disorder, you can self-manage. Essentially, this is going to entail revamping your lifestyle to eliminate excess stress on your jaw.

One of the key components of TMJ pain relief is a mouth guard. Oral surgeons recommend mouth guards because they have the ability to prevent bruxism and realign your jaw. They also recommend eating a soft diet. Well-cooked vegetables and fruits, soups, and eggs are just some of the dishes that will help rest your jaw joints. Do what you can for your TMJ disorder now so that the problem doesn’t worsen to the point of needing a surgical procedure.

What are the benefits of Botox treatments?

Botox injections can be delivered to several facial muscles, particularly the masseter muscle, and they will treat a variety of conditions. In particular, these injections are known to help with chronic migraines by alleviating tension in the temporomandibular joint. This prevents unconscious jaw movement. Therefore, it reduces headaches related to bruxism. While Botox does not treat the root cause of your TMJ disorder, it gets your discomfort under control enough to allow you to focus on addressing outside stressors.

When Botox injection treatments are made into the masseter muscle they will actually reduce the size of the masseter muscle and may create a more slim and natural face shape. You will find that your jaw tension is minimized. These injections may even help to reduce shoulder and neck pain. The results may last up to six months and sometimes longer. For these reasons, Botox is becoming an increasingly popular TMJ disorder treatment.

What can you expect from the process?

Going into any type of procedure can be nerve-wracking. However, be mindful of the fact that your oral and maxillofacial surgeon has provided Botox treatments to patients with TMJ disorder many times through the years. If you still have any concerns, make time to discuss them with your surgeon prior to receiving treatment. Be upfront about your unique situation. An oral surgeon may find that Botox injection treatments aren’t the best choice for you given your medical history or substance usage.

Botox injections are a non-surgical treatment that can be performed at your oral and maxillofacial surgeon’s office. They will not take long to administer. Typically, this can be done in 20 minutes or less. The injections are not painful and you will not be impaired after receiving them.

How effective are Botox injection treatments?

After treatment, you should be able to return to your usual day-to-day. However, there are a few common side effects that you should initially be aware of after the fact. You may contract a flu-like illness, a respiratory infection, or endure nausea, for instance. All of these things are normal and will go away in a few days. Then, you will start to feel the full benefits of the treatment. In most cases, Botox treatments will last approximately three to four months.

Note that you should avoid rubbing areas where your Botox injections were given or laying down immediately after treatment. For any discomfort around those areas, use a cold pack.

Are there alternative TMJ treatment options?

As you know, you are able to make lifestyle modifications that could positively change the course of your TMJ disorder. But, should you have a severe case that those pain relief exercises and/or Botox treatments cannot manage, ask your oral surgeon about surgical procedure options. Surgery should be a last resort, and you should make an informed decision about it. TMJ surgery is broken up into three types.

  • Arthrocentesis: This procedure is intended for when the jaw locks in the closed position. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon will perform this minor procedure under local anesthesia. They wash the joint out using sterile fluids.
  • Arthroscopy: A small incision is made in front of the ear, and general anesthesia is provided. An oral surgeon may have to remove inflamed tissue. This procedure results in minimal scarring and complications.
  • Open-joint surgery: As the most invasive procedure, open-joint surgery is necessary for those with worn-away bone structures, tumors, or severe scarring in the joint. During this procedure, under general anesthesia, a long incision is made to insert instruments. It has the longest healing time of the three types.


Botox treatments have been administered by dental professionals for years—Dr. Alford included. He completed his residency in 2009 and continues to educate himself on the best practices. Know that you are in good hands with a Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. Dr. Alford will create a thorough TMJ disorder treatment plan that fits you. Get in touch with us to set up a consultation. We offer services right here in the heart of Texas at Bastrop Oral Surgery and Lake Travis Oral Surgery.