Botox first became popular as a way to reduce wrinkles and facial lines. But today, it is proving to also be effective in treating conditions that involve pain and/or overactive muscles when administered by a trained and experienced professional.
As an orofacial dentist, I often turn to Botox for my TMJ patients whose painful symptoms have not responded to the traditional first-line therapies such as exercises, medications, relaxation techniques, oral appliances, etc.,
If you’re at a point where nothing has provided relief from painful TMJ symptoms, Botox injections in your masseter muscles could be the next step. Your masseters are the big muscles that bring your teeth together and bulge when you clench your teeth.
Naturally, there are a lot of questions that pop up when I recommend Botox injections to a patient. Here are three of the most common questions I get and my answers:
3 Frequently Asked Questions About Botox Injections in the Masseter Muscles
“One side of my face has a more developed masseter muscle than the other side. Will Botox improve the symmetry of my face?”
Yes, Botox injections can be used to achieve facial muscle symmetry. But here’s the important thing to know. It must be injected with a protocol that will selectively reduce the muscle bulk. Both the location and volume of Botox used must be carefully planned to achieve the result desired.
Don’t go forward until you find a practitioner who is highly trained and experienced in this type of treatment.
“How do I know if, or when, I will need more Botox in my masseter muscles?”
Botox is injected into the jaw (masseter) muscles for one of two reasons: The first, and most common, is to reduce pain. The second reason that patients opt to have Botox injected into their masseters is to slim down their jaw profile. Many people develop large, bulky jaw muscles as a result of clenching and grinding their teeth, which is called Bruxism.
If pain was the reason you chose Botox, you’ll know you need more treatment if the pain returns and you have controlled all the risk factors that brought on the pain in the first place. If your pain is significantly diminished or completely gone, you may not need more injections.
For pain relief, the current protocol has defined waiting a period of three months between injections.
If achieving a slimmer looking jaw was your reason for pursuing Botox injections, what you see in the mirror is the indication that you need more Botox. It is likely that more than one session of Botox injections will get the job done, so keep that in mind.
In addition, if you have not learned to reduce the behaviors that made your jaw muscles larger, or addressed the impact of sleep bruxism if present, results will take longer to achieve and may never be fully satisfying.
Learn about the behaviors that cause enlarged jaw muscles and what you can do about them here.
“If I just stop chewing gum and eating hard food, will my bulky jaw slim down so I don’t need Botox injections?
Your bulky jaw is the result of your masseter muscles being overworked over the course many years. If you simply stop those activities your muscles aren’t going to slim down on their own. You are probably a good candidate for Botox.
But as long as you continue the behaviors that made your jaw bulky in the first place, such as teeth grinding and clenching, the results of the Botox won’t last long.
Botox can be highly effective as a treatment for the pain and jaw bulkiness that are symptoms of TMJ problems. However, if administered improperly it may not work or even produce some very unpleasant outcomes.
How To Find A TMJ Doctor Skilled With Botox Injections
To find an orofacial dentist who is trained and experienced in your area, go to this website www.aaop.org and look for a doctor in your area with this designation: Diplomate.
If you are located near New York City, please feel free to call my office to discuss your case. I would be honored to speak to you and to help you feel better.
Have more questions about Botox injections in the masseter muscles? Feel free to comment below: