What to know about Botox for TMJ dysfunction

  • by:
  • Source: MedicalNewsToday
  • 03/21/2023

Botox may help relieve the symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction. It may relax the jaw, reduce pain, and enable the person to open their mouth fully.

TMJ disorders (TMDs) can cause jaw pain, headaches, and other symptoms. Conservative interventions are the first line of treatment, as they can often relieve the symptoms. For some people, though, TMD symptoms continue to be painful and disabling.

Botox for TMJ dysfunction can help paralyze some of the muscles involved, reducing pain and other symptoms.

A doctor will prescribe Botox off label, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved its use for TMJ.

Although research on animals suggests that Botox injections could weaken bones, a 2020 study on human disagrees. People considering Botox for TMJ dysfunction should discuss the risks and benefits with a healthcare professional.

A doctor can inject Botox into various jaw muscles.

This paralyzes the muscles, helping the person relax and reducing symptoms such as tensing the jaw and grinding. As a result, a person’s TMJ-related symptoms may improve.

2017 review of 24 studies found that Botox injections could reduce TMJ symptoms such as:

  • pain
  • jaw click
  • hypermobility and hyperactivity
  • limited jaw mobility

However, Botox is not a cure for TMJ issues. It is a temporary treatment that wears off over time. A person must repeat the treatment every few months to maintain the effects.

How effective is it? 

Research generally shows that Botox can improve the symptoms of TMJ dysfunction. However, experts consider it a “last resort” treatment option. Most studies investigating its efficacy have been small.

For example, a 2020 study involving 44 people — eight males and 36 females — with TMDs found that Botox injections improved several measures of these conditions, such as the ability to open the mouth fully. Overall, Botox led to a 59% pain reduction the first month after treatment and a 70% reduction in pain 6 months after treatment began.

Other research found that injecting Botox into the lateral pterygoid reduced TMD symptoms, regardless of the frequency, dosage, and injection method.

How it works

Botox comes from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which releases a neurotoxin that attacks the nervous system. Botox is the brand name version of botulinum toxin. It uses tiny quantities of the neurotoxin, which are too small to cause illness but can effectively paralyze muscles.

Targeting small muscles or groups of muscles may help relieve the pain of TMDs by releasing tension and reducing harmful jaw movements.

Researchers have also used Botox to manage other chronic pain conditions, such as migraine.

When treating TMJ dysfunction, a healthcare professional will inject Botox into the muscles that control the jaw. Getting Botox injections for another condition, or for cosmetic reasons, will not treat TMDs.

Read the full article: MedicalNewsToday

Get Our Monthly Newsletter and Important Updates

We will send you breaking news right to your inbox