What Is Temporomandibular Joint Pain?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. This joint, along with its associated muscles, ligaments, and discs, allows us to open and close our mouths, talk, and chew. Often when people hear “TMJ” they associate it with pain within the joint. If you are experiencing unexplained jaw tenderness, headaches, earaches, or facial pain, it could be from a TMJ disorder. 

Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

TMD or temporomandibular disorders typically occur when muscles and ligaments around your jaw joints become inflamed or irritated. TMD can be acute or chronic, and pain can range from mild to severe. Since TMD results from multiple causes, there is more than one approach to treating the symptoms. At Vassey Dental Partners, we like to complete a full assessment of your symptoms prior to choosing the best treatment. 

TMD is usually the result of the overuse of the muscles around the joints. It’s important to note where and when you’re experiencing this type of pain. If you notice tenderness in your temples or on the outside of your jaw or you notice it more in the morning, it can mean you are clenching or grinding your teeth, particularly at night while you sleep. Wearing a night guard while you sleep could alleviate your symptoms. However, if you continue to experience facial pain or headaches with wearing a night guard, then treating your TMD with Botox could help alleviate your symptoms.

Treating TMD through Botox

Botox is a drug typically known for its use in cosmetic procedures. It paralyzes specific muscles in the face and is used to temporarily smooth facial wrinkles to make a person look younger. However, it can also be an excellent resource for treating TMD. It works through a similar mechanism that blocks the muscle fibers from firing so that the muscles have less force. Proper dosing allows for normal eating and speaking, but prevents the muscles from overfiring and causing discomfort. 

We will complete a full assessment of the muscles and a thorough dental history. If you are a good candidate for Botox, we can administer it that day. Patients will have a post-op two weeks after their first injection to see the effectiveness of the Botox.  At this visit, additional Botox may be administered after follow-up questions with the patient and an extraoral assessment.  Botox treatment does wear off over time, and patients will notice the symptoms that troubled them start to return. Patients will usually need further injections every three to six months. 

Vassey Dental Partners offers a variety of treatments to help relieve the symptoms of TMD. To find out if Botox is the proper treatment for your TMD, call our office today to set up a consultation with one of our doctors.