Your temporomandibular joint is a hinge located on both sides of the head at the point where the jawbone meets the skull. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is used during talking, eating, swallowing, and other everyday activities. If this joint becomes displaced or is overworked through excessive teeth grinding, a person may suffer severe tension headaches, as well as sharp pain in the jaw.
Problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). But you may hear it wrongly called TMJ, after the joint.
What are treatment options are available for joint therapy?
Dental splint or night guard. These plastic mouthpieces fit over your upper and lower teeth so they don’t touch. They lessen the effects of clenching or grinding and correct your bite by putting your teeth in a more correct position.
BOTOX® Treatment for Jaw Tension and TMJ. BOTOX® is used as an alternative treatment for TMJ (temporomandibular 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. Although BOTOX® treatment for these conditions is presently experimental; evidence indicates that it can be extremely effective.
How Does BOTOX® Treat Jaw Tension and TMJ Disorder?
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. A non-surgical procedure, BOTOX® injections can be administered in your dental office. Most patients experience noticeable improvement within one or two days of their first treatment, although relief can take up to a week.
Orthodontics. Orthodontics is an effective approach often used with TMJ disorder. If your TMJ is caused by misalignment or bite problems, braces can be used to move your teeth back into the proper position. Once your teeth are positioned correctly, the TMJ will also shift back into its optimal alignment.
Dental work. Your dentist can replace missing teeth with implants, crowns, or bridges to balance the biting surfaces of your teeth or to correct a bite problem.