The Pros And Cons Of Using Botox To Treat TMJ Disorder

Written byTMJ Relief

Botox has been proven to be an effective and long-lasting treatment for TMJ disorder.

It's no longer thought of solely as an answer to wrinkles and crow's feet.

Also known as botulin toxin type A, botox is actually a neurotoxin used to treat muscle spasms, stiffness, chronic migraine and headaches.

Other brands are available and work much that same way botox does, including Vistabel, Dysport, Azzalure, and Xeomin.

These brands may be cheaper than botox and can be as effective.

With millions of people receiving botox cosmetic reasons every year, botox has become the most popular cosmetic procedure in the United States.

It can be administered by dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons, nurses or even beauty spa technicians.

Many cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists limit their focus to the forehead, eyes, and eyebrows. Although these areas are superlative locations when aiming to treat chronic migraine headaches, different injection sites need to be treated for TMJ symptoms.

Botox must be injected at the site of the masseter muscles in order to be useful.

Unfortunately, this is not a common request among botox seekers and many doctors simply aren’t experienced with treating disorders associated with TMJ, thus making the search akin to looking for a botox needle in a haystack. Practitioners do exist, and with some careful searching, you can locate a skilled professional to address your TMJ symptoms.

Offices that provide botox to achieve jaw reductions should be your first stop when looking for a qualified injector.

Although individuals of all races may seek cosmetic treatment to address an enlarged masculine jaw line, this trend most common among the Asian ethnic group. When the jaw line is prominent and disproportionate to the rest of the face, some patients desire a means to achieve a more slender face.

'Jaw reduction via botox injection' should be your primary Google search to optimize your results.

Here are a few skilled practitioners that we know of that can help you on your journey:

  1. Dr. Lee at Enhance Medical Center in Beverly Hills
  2. Dr. Boahene in Baltimore, Maryland
  3. Dr. Vartan Mardarossian in Jupiter, Florida

These doctors are some great starting points.

It may be necessary to travel to get desired results, but ensuring the procedure is done properly should be your first priority.

Before seeking TMJ relief via botox or any other brands listed here, consider the following pros and cons.

UPDATE: For detailed information and practical steps to help you beat TMJ disorder naturally, take a look at TMJ No More.

The pros: How botox can help your TMJ

Botox allows your muscles to rest

TMJ Botox Masseter

Botox works by paralyzing the overused masseter muscles in the jaw.

When these muscles are unable to move, they aren't able to clench or grind. Just like any other muscle in the body, they 'bulk up' after repeated use, becoming more pronounced and larger.

When injected with Botox, these muscles are simply unable to get their workout and finally begin to rest, allowing them time to heal and repair.

During the resting phase, symptoms of TMJ are relieved.

Unlike analgesics, corticosteroid injections, and other short-lived fixes, botox can last up to 5 months.

The more often a patient receives botox treatment, the more effective it becomes.

The relief associated with botox treatment can truly be long lasting.

Botox relieves the chief complaint of jaw pain and further aids in the relief of secondary pain that may radiate from the jaw up to the ears, through the shoulders and down the neck and back.

Many of those who suffer from TMJ have probably experienced headaches as a result.

Shrugging of the shoulders is just one example of a secondary part of the body that overcompensates to relieve tension in the jaw. Patients can expect their shoulders to drop and their posture to improve after treatment.

Improved facial symmetry

Take a moment and flex your masseter muscles in the mirror.

If you suffer from TMJ, you will notice that the prominent edge of your jaw gets bigger when clench your teeth.

This painful flexing is undesirable and is a major source of pain.

Over time, those suffering from TMJ may notice their face has become more angular and square.

Injecting botox into those unwanted muscles associated with TMJ causes the muscles to shrink over time. 

Because of this, patients can anticipate improved overall facial symmetry.

When botox is injected properly, a softer facial profile is achieved.

If one side of the face is larger due to reasons like improper dental alignment, a master injector can often add evenness to the face.

A square jaw line is widely considered a masculine feature.

Women suffering from TMJ may notice their face has become sharper, angular, and gaunt; however after a few months from initial treatment, the bulky muscle mass dissipates and inflammation stops.

The result is a more narrow, soft and feminine appearance.

The cons of masseter botox: How botox for TMJ can be harmful

Facial deformity and Botox migration issues

If the injection is misplaced, temporary facial deformity may result.

You must follow all post procedure instructions provided to you by your doctor. Some doctors recommend sitting up for 90 minutes after treatment since that’s the amount of time it takes for the drug to bind to the muscle.

It's advised that you resist the urge to massage the injection site.

Further, most physicians generally advise against patients lying flat for a minimum of four hours after injection to prevent the drug from migrating to other areas. If the drug moves to unintended areas, temporary paralysis of these undesirable locations can occur, resulting in deformity.

Unlike Juvaderm and its hyaluronic based affiliate fillers that can be reversed by injecting hyaluronidase, there is no known remedy for unfavorable botox results.

Thus, it is important to follow all after care direction.

If the drug has been misplaced or has migrated, the toxin can spread causing serious symptoms.

Double vision, muscle weakness, hoarse voice, and difficulty speaking are side effects that can occur.

These adverse reactions can persist anywhere between 3-4 months.

Allergic reactions

Further, those known to have sensitive skin may suffer from allergic reactions.

It's recommended that tests be done prior to receiving botox.

Difficulty swallowing, speaking or breathing, skin irritation, rash, and bloating are indications that an allergic reaction has occurred.

Botox can be expensive

Another known con is that botox can be expensive.

Demographics play a part in how much the procedure can costs; however, in general, the average price ranges between $350-$500 per area treated. The cost also depends on the practitioner’s skill level and the amount of time they’ve been injecting.

Botox needs to be kept up

The last disadvantage to consider is that treatment must be kept up.

At several hundred dollars per visit, it is best to receive injections before the muscles are able to move again.

That means that if results last up to 5 months, every four months you will need to return for more treatments.

If you're looking to try a safe, natural alternative before going down the botox route, you could also consider acupuncture for TMJ.

Healing and recovery

Although muscles will be fully immobilized after 2 weeks, it may take up to 3 months for patients to experience full relief from their TMJ symptoms.

Exercise may help botox metabolize quicker in the body, according to some experts.

Healing begins during the initial 2-week phase, but keep in mind the amount of time it took for those powerful jaw muscles to build.

It may take several months for the body to repair the damage.

At that time, you should start seeing the benefits of Botox for TMD.

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