Harwer M.D. Partners in Health

BOTOX® Treatment for TML and Jaw Tension


Botox treatment injection areas

BOTOX® is increasingly used as an alternative treatment for TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint) disorders and associated jaw tension and pain. When injected into facial muscles afflicted with soreness and discomfort, BOTOX® relieves TMJ and jaw tension for many patients. The injections often eliminate headaches resulting from teeth grinding, and in cases of severe stress, BOTOX® can even minimize lock jaw. Evidence indicates that it can be extremely effective even though BOTOX® treatment for these conditions is presently only experimental.

How BOTOX® affects TMJ and jaw tension?

The temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ), located on both sides of the head at the point where the jawbone meets the skull, is used for talking, eating, swallowing, and other everyday activities. If this joint is overworked due to excessive teeth grinding, or if it becomes displaced, a patient may suffer severe tension headaches as well as sharp pain in the jaw. BOTOX® relieves jaw tension by making muscles unable to engage in the powerful, often unconscious movement of the jaw that produces headaches and pain.

The BOTOX® alternative treatment for TMJ disorders and jaw tension is usually quick, straightforward, and effective. BOTOX® injections are administered in a physician's office and the treatment does not require hospital stay. Most patients experience noticeable improvement within one or two days of their first treatment, although significant relief can take up to a week or more.

Candidates for BOTOX® alternative jaw treatment

BOTOX® appears to be a safe alternative to traditional treatment for most people who experience jaw tension or have a TMJ disorder. However, it is important to examine patients to determine their eligibility for this treatment. During the initial consultation the physician carefully reviews every prospective patient's medical history before starting treatment. Patients must disclose whether they are using any medications, drugs, or other substances that could negatively interact with BOTOX®, and report any allergies to avoid a possible negative reaction to BOTOX®.

Risks and benefits of BOTOX® jaw tension treatment

BOTOX® injections often provide substantial relief or peatients suffering from soreness and pain resulting from problems with the temporo-mandibular joint. While reducing the ability of facial muscles to engage in problematic grinding, BOTOX® allows them to perform daily activities such as talking, chewing, and swallowing. This makes the BOTOX® treatment for jaw tension a convenient, effective option for many patients. In addition, the BOTOX® treatment can help safeguard dental health, since excessive grinding can result in worn teeth and damaged gums that may require costly dental work.

While BOTOX® treatment for TMJ disorders appears to be quite safe, certain medications, intoxicants, and other substances can minimize or negatively impact the effectiveness of BOTOX® injections. For this reason, patients must honestly disclose any medication or substance use to their physician prior to any treatment. In some cases, patients have experienced bruising and bleeding at injection sites, or excessive paralysis of the muscles in the areas treated. Although complications are rare, all possible risks must be discussed with a physician prior to any treatment.

Botox® Treatments for TMJ

BOTOX® treatment for TMJ is a simple, non-surgical procedure which is not approved by FDA. BOTOX is injected into certain muscles in the head and neck area to relax them. BOTOX procedure in experienced hands carries lower risk. Dr. Harwer will ask you to contract the muscle area to be treated so she can determine appropriate injection sites. Areas targeted for the BOTOX treatment may be numbed with an ice pack or a topical numbing agent. No anesthesia is required with BOTOX treatment for TMJ treatments, since Dr. Harwer administers tiny BOTOX® injections directly into the appropriate muscles.

Only the areas injected with BOTOX will be "relaxed." BOTOX treatment for TJM therapy will not affect anywhere else in your body. The injections are mainly in the temporalis, frontalis and masseter (see picture below) additional sites may be injected with BOTOX depending on the severity of the headaches.

How long is the BOTOX® TMJ treatment?

The length of the BOTOX treatment procedure depends on the number of injections needed as determined by the doctor. Still, it is reasonable for the treatment procedure to be completed within approximately 10 minutes.

Is the BOTOX® TMJ treatment painful?

The pain associated with the BOTOX TMJ Treatment procedure is due to the injections, but it is generally minimal and brief. Some patients have likened the BOTOX injection pain unto a "bug bite" or "prick". Pain from the injection can be reduced by a cold pack application or topically applied numbing cream prior to the procedure. There may be mild temporary bruising and numbness or redness around the injection sites. You will not look 20 years younger, but you may find that you look more natural and relaxed or less sad and angry. Small number of patients treated with BOTOX injections report no noticeable difference in the reduction of their wrinkles.

What not to do after Cover BOTOX® for TMJ Treatment

You should stay upright and not lie down for at least two hours after the injections. Because the BOTOX Treatment procedure is non-surgical and non-invasive, it is highly likely that the patient can return to normal activities immediately. However, , patients should not rub or massage the area injected with BOTOX to avoid spreading the toxin to other muscles and remain upright for many hours . Do not exercise the day of the injections, and limit physical activity should also be limited for a time.

Risks, limitations & possible complications of BOTOX® for TMJ

As with any medical procedure there are possible risks and side effects when using BOTOX for TMJ treatment. Because this is a non-surgical treatment procedure the risks and possible complications are infrequent and rare. The most common reported side-effects of BOTOX treatment are headaches, respiratory infection, flu syndrome, temporary eye-lid droop, and nausea. Less commonly reported effects of BOTOX are pain, redness at spot of injection, and muscle weakness.

There may be bruising at the injection site. Because the lips are used more than the forehead for common activities such as chewing, kissing, and talking, BOTOX injections around the mouth are less useful in TMJ treatment and can have more potential inconvenient effects. These every day activities may become more difficult and too much BOTOX® around the mouth can result in drooling. Another limitation to BOTOX® injection for TMJ treatments is that there is a possibility of developing antibodies that would render the TMJ treatments less and less effective over time. Some cases reported of paralysis and death were reported from BOTOX® use. BOTOX® injection treatments should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation. At present BOTOX® TMJ treatment is not covered by insurance.

BOTOX®

Will Insurance Cover BOTOX® Treatment?

Some medically related BOTOX® treatments are usually covered by insurance, including treatment for blepharospasm (uncontrollable eye twitching), excessive sweating, constant pain and others. Insurance coverage for BOTOX® Cosmetic injections is much less common, but you should consult your insurance provider to find out if you have coverage for BOTOX® treatment. Call Allergan BOTOX® reimbursement hotline at 1-800-530-6680 and ask Allergan representative to help you determine whether your procedure is covered by insurance.