Botox® is usually associated with cosmetic procedures like eliminating glabellar lines and facial wrinkles. But did you know Botox® is quickly gaining popularity in the dental industry? Recently, it's even being used as a treatment for dental-related issues like temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJD or TMJ) and its related symptoms, such as headaches and earaches. Although some TMJ and other dental-related symptoms may improve without any specific treatment, Botox® can offer fast and long-lasting relief for those that do not.
What benefits does dental Botox® offer?
One of the biggest benefits of Botox® for dentistry is that it helps diagnose TMJ. The symptoms for TMJ often change in severity, depending on how much stress the sufferer is experiencing. During an intensely stressful period, grinding teeth, debilitating earaches, and lockjaw may occur. Not only do Botox® help alleviate tension, jaw pain and headaches, they have several other dental benefits as well.
Here are some of them:
Elimination of headaches caused by nighttime grinding.
Minimization of lockjaw and substantially reduced jaw tension.
Reduced discomfort when eating and speaking.
Reduced shoulder and neck pain.
Enhanced effectiveness of cosmetic procedures like veneers, crowns, teeth whitening and braces.
In the end, Botox® is extremely beneficial for both TMJ disorders and a variety of other dental procedures.
How does dental Botox® work?
Your temporomandibular joint - located on both sides of the head where the skulls adjoins the jawbone - is constantly being used for a variety of daily activities, from chewing and biting to speaking and swallowing. When this happens, it causes stress-related involuntary jaw movements. That’s why wrinkles tend to develop more rapidly in those areas. Botox® alleviates temporomandibular tension by relaxing the jaw muscles, thus preventing unconscious jaw movement, ending grinding-related headaches and giving your skin a smoother, more youthful appearance.
Best of all, 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 TMJ can also prevent serious dental problems from occurring later. TMJ, if left untreated, can contribute to tooth decay, gum disease and the loosening of teeth.
What’s involved when getting dental Botox® injections?
Prior to administering Botox® injections, the dentist needs to check the patient’s suitability for treatment. When used in conjunction with certain medications and substances, Botox® may not produce the desired results. It is exceptionally important therefore, to be honest about prior medical history. Botox® is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.
The Botox® injections take 10-20 minutes to administer, depending on the amount required. Because it is non-surgical, the Botox® procedure will be performed at the dental office. Driving ability will not be impaired by the treatment, so there is no need for a designated driver. The injections are no more painful than a bug bite or pinprick, but nitrous oxide (laughing gas) can be used to reduce anxiety if necessary.
Normal activity can be resumed immediately after the Botox® 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® will continue to work for up to 3 months.
If you have any questions or concerns about TMJ or Botox® treatment, please contact our office.