TMJ Botox

TMJ and Botox

TMJ pain can be constant and debilitating. Jaw pain, clicking and popping, headaches, and more make it difficult to function, let alone thrive. The challenge with TMJ pain is it’s what TMJ specialists call “multifactorial,” which means it’s caused by more than one thing.

One common factor is muscle tightness. Whether that tightness is caused by stress or jaw clenching, Botox can help ease this muscle tension. This makes Botox an effective tool to discuss with your TMJ dentist.

The absolute best TMJ doctors around. Super friendly and knows how to get your jaw back on the right path. Thank you!
- John (Google Review)

What is Botox?

Botox is a drug that’s made from bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Doctors use it to treat several health problems, including:

  • Severe sweating
  • Uncontrollable blinking
  • Overactive bladder
  • Chronic migraines
  • And more

Because Botox injections weaken or paralyze certain muscles, or block nerves, a TMJ specialist can use it to help prevent the muscle clenching that can cause TMJ pain.

A young woman receives Botox in her jaw to help with her TMJ pain.

The TMJ Botox Process

1. The Full TMJ Examination

Because TMJ pain is multifactorial and every case is different, we always start with a thorough examination. (This typically takes 45-60 minutes). During this exam we’ll try to identify what’s causing your TMJ pain and what treatment methods might be effective.

2. Palpating the Face and Neck

If muscle tension is a major factor in your TMJ pain, Botox could be an effective part of our treatment plan. In that case, Dr. Mitchell will perform an extended exam by palpating your face and neck. Essentially, this just means squeezing your muscles to find the root of the problem.

A young woman with brown hair and a sweater holds her jaw because of her TMJ pain.
A blonde woman holds her face and smiles in front of a dark blue, green background.

3. Botox Treatment for TMJ

The treatment itself is quick, painless, and can be done during your initial visit. Botox for TMJ treatment can also be added to a different procedure, such as cosmetic Botox or a dental service.

4. Aftercare

You will be able to return to your daily routine immediately after the procedure. However, it’s important not to rub or massage the injection site. This can cause the Botox to migrate to other areas, which we do not want. Precision is vital when treating TMJ with Botox, which is why we take so much care with the examination leading up to the procedure. It can take 3-10 days for the Botox to take full effect and we always recommend a follow up visit two weeks after the procedure.

Botox is Often Just One Part of the Plan

Because TMJ is multifactorial it’s common for the pain to migrate to new areas or present additional symptoms. For example, after jaw pain is treated you may experience headaches. This may seem confusing at first. After all, wasn’t the Botox supposed to fix everything? The truth is: the headaches were already there, the jaw pain was just so painful your brain couldn’t process the headaches as well. Once the jaw pain was treated you could feel the headache. This type of symptom migration and shifting is why it’s important to work with a Chicago TMJ specialist who can help you through each layer of the problem.

TMJ Botox FAQs

We would not recommend getting your TMJ treatment from a medspa.  

TMJ pain is a multifactorial problem, almost like a game of whack-a-mole. Cases where one cause is treated only for the symptoms to migrate to a different part of the face or change forms are common. Therefore finding a TMJ specialist in Chicago who can help you navigate the entire process, rather than just treating one symptom, is ideal. 

Yes, where Botox is appropriate. Botox is most effective for treating cases where TMJ pain is caused by clenched muscles.

No, Botox treatment does not hurt. A mosquito bite hurts more.

Yes, Botox for TMJ is safe. 

Yes, absolutely.

At its core, TMJ issues are about pain management. Anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, physical therapies, exercise, avoiding certain habits (chewing on pens or using your teeth as tools), or destressing your life can all help reduce TMJ pain. 

Palpate means to squeeze the muscles to see how tight they are.

You need to palpate the muscles so you get the muscles in the right spot. This is part of the detailed examination from the top of the face, down the front of the neck, and into the shoulders. This allows us to target the right spot.

Botox won’t spread throughout a muscle group. A single injection affects a portion of the muscle that’s about the size of a quarter or even a dime in some cases. Therefore, it’s important that the injector places it in the right spot. Even missing by as little as half an inch can be the difference between an effective TMJ treatment and continued pain. That’s why we identify the optimal location for Botox with a careful exam before treatment. 

It’s also quite important to avoid certain anatomical areas. For example, when placing Botox in the masseter, you need to be careful not to affect other muscle groups. A poorly placed Botox injection can result in unwanted side effects, such as a crooked smile. 

Ready to Get Started?

Call us at (312) 642-1014 or schedule an appointment online.  We will answer any questions and concerns, and help you determine if Botox for TMJ is right for you. Our office is conveniently located at 845 N Michigan Ave Suite 922 E downtown Chicago.

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