You probably know Botox® from sitcoms and movies, where characters go in for a procedure and come out with a face that’s comically frozen. But truth be told, Botox has become sort of a miracle worker for those experiencing chronic pain and other conditions.
Back in 1994, medical researchers at the University of California Los Angeles began using botulinum toxin — the generic name for Botox — to treat the muscle spasms responsible for lazy eye. Since then, Botox has gained popularity for its ability to address fine lines and wrinkles. And it’s been found to help patients with a number of conditions, from excessive sweating to overactive bladder to temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
Your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the hinge-like joint that connects your jaw to either side of your face. For some people — more than 10 million Americans — the joint fails to work properly, which results in pain and even migraines. Dentists are finding that Botox is a powerful tool for eliminating pain from TMJ disorders, bruxism, and lockjaw.
If jaw pain and migraines frequently derail your day-to-day plans, read on for more information about this innovative use of Botox.
And if you’re looking for TMJ disorder relief in Montgomery, AL, look no further than Carmichael Dental Care. Dr. Swartzentruber has completed advanced training through the American Academy of Facial Esthetics in the application of Botox. He effectively treats TMJ pain with Botox and a comfortable dental device. Call us at 334-600-1423 to schedule a consultation!
The Causes And Symptoms Of TMJ Disorders
The classic symptoms of TMJ disorders are jaw pain or tenderness and migraines. That’s because the joint dysfunction can cause an aching or throbbing sensation around your ears and temples, which feels a lot like a migraine.
Other symptoms include:
- Difficulty chewing
- A jaw that seems to get stuck when you open or close your mouth
- A clicking, popping, or grating noise or sensation when you open your mouth
- Tiredness or tenderness of the face
TMJ disorders can be caused by a number of things, including arthritis or injury to the joint. But frequently, stress is the culprit. When you experience stress during the day — from final exams to a busy period at work or family issues — it can manifest itself as bruxism, or jaw clenching and teeth grinding, while you sleep. When this happens, you wake up and essentially, your jaw has been working in overdrive all night. Bruxism can result in pain, and it can also wear down your teeth over time.
Treating Your TMJ Disorder With Botox
At Carmichael Dental Care, our treatment for TMJ disorders can consist of two things. First, we’re able to provide custom-made splints, or nightguards, that prevent bruxism. These appliances are comfortable and easy to use. They resemble athletic mouthguards that you simply wear while you sleep. These appliances slightly adjust the position of your jaw so you’re less likely to clench or grind.
Second, we can pair this treatment with use of Botox, which blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles so the muscles around your jaw can’t involuntarily contract. When effectively administered, Botox simply relaxes the jaw to prevent nighttime clenching and teeth grinding. The treatment only takes a few minutes, and the effects of one treatment can last up to six months!
Restoring A Worn-Down Smile
The great thing about having Dr. Swartzentruber treat your TMJ disorder is that you can restore your worn-down smile at the same place you get your TMJ disorder treatment. Years of bruxism can take a toll on the way your smile looks, making your teeth appear short or even misshapen.
The team at Carmichael Dental Care is passionate about cosmetic smile transformations that also improve your dental function. One way we can restore your smile is with dental crowns. These restorations are custom-made to look like a healthier version of your natural teeth. The prosthetic is placed over the top of the damaged tooth, completely concealing it to restore its shape.
Dental crowns can also help restore a healthy bite, since your teeth will once again fit together well. Foods will become easier to chew, and this adjustment might also help further curb your teeth grinding habits.
Alternatively, we can conceal worn down teeth with the help of dental veneers. These prosthetics look like thin shells of porcelain. They’re bonded to the fronts of your teeth to conceal dental imperfections, including worn down teeth.
Eradicate Jaw Pain, Live More Fully
When you experience jaw pain and migraines as a result of a TMJ disorder, it’s difficult to function at 100 percent. Treating the discomfort with the help of a compassionate team will help feel your best, enabling you to ultimately live a fuller life!
Call Carmichael Dental Care today at 334-600-1423 to schedule an appointment, or use our convenient online form.