By: Brielle Kirk, PA-C
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome is a common problem that millions of people experience. It occurs more commonly in women than in men, and it is mostly caused by clenching or grinding the teeth at night. Symptoms can include decreased range of motion of the jaw, clicking or popping noises with opening/closing the jaw, jaw clenching, teeth grinding, or jaw deviation to the side being affected. Jaw locking can occur but is not common. These symptoms are usually worse in the morning and decrease throughout the day. Other symptoms that can occur are facial pain, ear pain, dizziness, headache, and dizziness.
TMJ syndrome can be treated by alleviating stress, self-care, and other lifestyle/behavioral measures like sleep position, etc. A mouth guard fitted specifically by a dentist can help as well if the cause is from grinding teeth at night. You can also try physical therapy or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxers, however, these will not treat the root cause of the problem. Where our office can help is that if you fail the above modalities or do not wish to rely on daily medications, Botox can help! Botox is a neuromodulator, so it works by paralyzing muscles. If injected into the masseter muscles, the muscles you use to chew, it can help to prevent grinding the teeth and clenching your jaw at night! If these muscles are paralyzed, you will not be able to grind or clench, which is taking care of the physical root cause of the issue! If there is an emotional/psychiatric component, please discuss this with the medical provider as well for treatment suggestions. Now you may be scratching your head, wondering how you can eat successfully if we paralyze your muscles responsible for chewing! Not to worry! Although Botox is a paralytic, the muscle is not completely paralyzed, just weakened to alleviate symptoms! Usually, we start with around 12-15 units per side, but dosage is unique to the individual and should be determined by a medical professional. The results should typically last 3 to 5 months. Contact our office to fix your TMJ syndrome or jaw tension today!