Many people complain of pain in their Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) caused by clenching or grinding at night or during the day. Sometimes this also leads to pain in the main muscles involved in these movements (the muscles of mastication): the masseter and temporalis.
Much like when you lift heavy weights daily and your muscles get larger and stronger, so too can these muscles of mastication.
Botox, or Botulinum Toxin, is a purified protein that when injected into muscles relaxes them and prevents them from overfiring.
It is used to relax these muscles, and to the extent that a patients Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) is caused by excessive clenching and grinding, relaxing these muscles can ease pressure off of the TMJ and also relieve muscle tension.
Does Botox hurt?
This treatment involves very tiny injections in large muscles, so it is quite pain-free. It may be useful to compare the feeling of the injection to “plucking a hair”.
Is it safe?
Botox is generally very safe, especially with the doses we use to treat TMD, tension headaches, and muscle pain. It has a long history of use (it has been used since the 1970’s to treat eyes conditions), and before treatment your dentist will screen you and take a medical history to ensure you are a good candidate.