“Ninety percent of all TMJ symptoms are muscular in nature; therefore, many people have turned to Botox as a potential treatment for TMJ disorders,” says Jeffrey Haddad, DDS, of Doolin Haddad Advanced Dentistry in Rochester, MI
“Botox has become a popular treatment for acute relief in TMJ patients, but unfortunately masks the root cause of TMJ pain and other symptoms,” continues Dr. Haddad.
“Presently, Botox is not approved by the FDA for use in treating TMJ disorders.
“However, because it stops muscle contraction, it can relieve muscular tension and pain in the facial muscles.
“This could be beneficial for clenchers in an acute muscular pain situation.”
Recommendation for Botox As TMJ Pain Relief ? ? effective
“That said, I strongly caution against the long term use of Botox,” says Dr. Haddad.
“Botox shuts down the facial muscle fibers injected for 3-4 months, but in the meantime, new muscle fibers can grow in an attempt to carry on the task of chewing, movement and facial expression.
“Now when the Botox wears off, there could be an imbalance of muscle mass and an asymmetrical response to the task they were intended for.”
In other words, there is the risk of having an uneven face.
Maybe you’ll trade facial symmetry for TMJ pain relief, but it’s important that all patients know that this risk is real.
“In addition, further deterioration of the articular disc, condyles or retrodiscal tissues of the TM joint will continue despite the patient feeling ‘comfortable.’”
Still Want Botox for TMJ Pain Relief?
“An analogy I like to use with my patients is to that of a broken leg. If you broke your leg and were on morphine, you would perceive no pain at all…but your leg is still broken.
“Further damage will occur to the bone, ligaments and muscles of the leg even though you have no pain.
“Not only will this injury continue to heal improperly or not heal at all, but you could end up in a worse situation due to not addressing the root cause in the first place.
“As a neuromuscular dentist, I would rather retrain muscles than shut them off, and support the jaw in a comfortable, unstrained and pain-free posture with a properly made orthotic.
“This addresses the misaligned jaw position, which was the main cause of the TMJ disorder, without medications, injections or masking of symptoms.”
Dr. Haddad lectures nationally on cosmetic dentistry, TMJ disorders and practice marketing, and utilizes the latest technology to ensure the utmost in patient comfort and care.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.