According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, up to 10 million Americans suffer from a condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder (usually abbreviated as TMJD or TMD). The temporomandibular joint is what connects the mandible (lower jaw) to the skull, allowing your mouth to open and close. The diagnosis of TMJD is given when there is tension and inflammation in this area, manifesting as face and neck pain as well as a locking of the jaw. Fortunately, there are treatments available today that can provide relief.

What is TMJ treatment?

Many patients try to manage this condition by incorporating things such as painkillers, muscle relaxers, and even cognitive behavioral therapy. Others try to eat softer foods and employ jaw-stretching exercises. While these methods can be helpful, they seldom achieve the results that patients are looking for.

In recent years, more and more doctors are recommending BOTOX injections to combat TMJ. While it is still considered an alternative approach, recent evidence has shown that BOTOX is extremely effective in reducing pain, headaches, jaw tension, and other TMJD symptoms. Patients that take this route usually find that everyday activities such as talking, eating, and swallowing are no longer a source of distress for them.

How is it performed?

BOTOX is administered directly into the ‘jaw elevator’ muscles. For those with TMJD, these muscles are doing a lot more work than they are supposed to. The BOTOX injections prevent the muscles from overworking themselves. The treatment takes no more than 30 minutes and is usually spread out over a span of several sessions.

What are the benefits?

Anybody struggling with the frustrating symptoms of TMJD will find substantial relief from BOTOX injections. Most find that, once their teeth grinding has stopped, they are now able to speak, chew, and swallow with ease. Naturally, it is also a great investment for dental health, as teeth grinding can have serious medical implications. While there are other options available, most TMJD patients find that nothing is as quick and effective as BOTOX.

Who is an ideal candidate for treatment?

BOTOX has been shown to be a safe treatment for anyone experiencing TMJD or any other form of jaw tension. It is important, however, that prospective patients be open and honest about any medications or drugs that they may be taking. There are certain substances that can react badly with BOTOX, so it is essential to disclose all supplements and pills you’re currently on before proceeding. Allergies should also be reported, as some patients could have a negative reaction to the injections. If a patient is found to be unfit for the procedure, they will be advised on alternative treatments that might accomplish the same goals.

What can I expect from my recovery?

Following the procedure, it is recommended that you use an ice pack or numbing cream, as it is normal for patients to experience a small amount of pain. There can be some redness and bruising at the injection site, as well as some muscle weakness. While it usually takes several days to feel relief, patients can return to their normal activities right away. The only stipulation is that you remain in an upright position for several hours following the procedure to prevent the toxin from spreading to other muscles in the body.

Why choose Dr. Reinblatt?

With over a decade of experience, Dr. Maura Reinblatt is dedicated to providing her patients with the most current and up-to-date procedures. A double board-certified plastic and general surgeon, her credentials include associations with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, as well as residencies at Harvard and UCLA. She prides herself on communicating well with her patients to build trust and to help them achieve the appearance they’ve always dreamed of.

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