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TMD/TMJ & Bruxism


Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ / TMDs) are often called “TMJ” by doctors, patients and even insurance companies, although the term TMJ actually refers only to the jaw joints themselves. TMD/TMJ describes a group of diseases that can involve the jaw joints, the muscles that control jaw movement and the dental occlusion. TMJ / TMDs are physical disorders arising from an imbalance in the delicate working relationship of the jaw and skull with the muscles that move the jaw, as well as the nervous system associated with these systems. This imbalance results in muscle fatigue, spasm and/or joint dysfunction, and even changes in the teeth, which in turn cause a variety of symptoms, unique for each person

Common symptoms of TMD include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide
  • Limited ability to open the mouth very wide
  • Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open- or closed-mouth position
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth (which may or may not be accompanied by pain)
  • A tired feeling in the face
  • Difficulty chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite – as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
  • Swelling on the side of the face Headache
  • Headache is one of the most common symptoms of a TMJ problem. Usually the TMJ headache is located in the temples, back of the head, and even the shoulders. Clenching and grinding of the teeth, both of which may be TMJ symptoms, produce muscle pain which can cause headache pain. Also, a displaced disc in the TMJ may cause pain in the joint which is often referred into the temples, forehead or neck. These headaches are frequently so severe that they are confused and treated (with little success) for migraine headaches or abnormalities in the brain.

Treatment TMJ

How Does BOTOX® Treat Jaw Tension and TMJ Disorder?
TBOTOX® 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 are administered in a doctor’s office, and treatment requires no hospital stay. Most patients experience noticeable improvement within one or two days of their first treatment, although relief can take up to a week.

Candidates for BOTOX® Alternative Jaw Treatment

BOTOX® appears to be a safe alternative to traditional treatment for most people who experience jaw tension or have a TMJ disorder. Nevertheless, it is important for BOTOX® providers to screen patients to determine their eligibility for treatment. During the initial consultation, a doctor or dentist should carefully review every prospective patient’s medical history before beginning treatment. Patients must disclose whether they are using any medications, drugs, or other substances that could negatively interact with BOTOX®. They should also report any allergies they have to avoid a possible negative reaction to BOTOX®. People with jaw tension or TMJ disorders who are not able to have BOTOX® injections will be advised to undergo a more traditional treatment.

Risks and Benefits of BOTOX® Treatment for Jaw Tension

For people suffering from soreness and pain resulting from problems with the temporo-mandibular joint, BOTOX® injections often provide substantial relief. While reducing the ability of facial muscles to engage in problematic grinding, BOTOX® allows them to perform daily activities such as talking, chewing, and swallowing. This makes the BOTOX® alternative treatment for jaw tension a convenient, effective option for many people. In addition, the treatment can help safeguard dental health, since excessive grinding can result in worn teeth and damaged gums that may require costly treatment.
While BOTOX® treatment for TMJ disorders appears to be safe, certain medications, intoxicants, and other substances can minimize or negatively impact the effectiveness of BOTOX® injections. For this reason, patients should honestly disclose any medication or substance use to their physician prior to treatment. In some cases, patients have experienced bruising and bleeding at injection sites, or excessive paralysis of the muscles in the areas treated. Although complications are rare, all possible risks should be discussed with a doctor prior to treatment.

Other Alternative Medical Treatments for TMJ

Alternative medical treatment for TMJ is considered less conservative and not necessary if you initially receive proper diagnosis and treatment. Alternative treatments include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), ultrasound, trigger-point injections and radio wave therapy. TENS and radio wave therapy send low levels of electrical or radio waves of energy to the affected area in order to stimulate blood flow to the joint and surrounding area.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery is considered usually after you have tried all other treatment options. All TMJ-related surgery is performed under general anesthesia. An oral surgeon may perform a minor procedure called arthrocentesis. During the procedure, your surgeon cleanses the joint by inserting needles into the joint area and dispensing sterile fluid. In some cases, the surgeon inserts a scalpel-like instrument inside the joint to remove any tissue adhesions and reposition the disc in the joint hinge.
The second type of surgery is arthroscopy. During this procedure, your surgeon makes an incision at the temple point in front of the ear to reach an endoscope into the surrounding area. The endoscope provides a visual guide so that your surgeon can remove any adhesions, treat inflammation or reposition the disc. Alternatively, open-joint surgery may be performed. This may be the only option that provides access to deteriorating bony structures, tumors, severe scarring or chipped bone areas. Depending on the type of problem, your surgeon may use a scalpel to remove or re-sculpt the affected area.


Teeth grinding or bruxism is a problem that afflicts a large percentage of Americans. Aggravated by stress. Most people probably grind and clench their teeth from time to time. Occasional teeth grinding, medically called bruxism, does not usually cause harm, but when teeth grinding occurs on a regular basis the teeth can be damaged and other complications can arise. Those that only grind at night only know that they are doing it if they wake up with.
Bruxism and TMD can result in headaches, earaches, facial pain, chipped teeth and chewed tissue on the inside of the mouth. Chronic grinding will often lead to a hypertrophied masseter muscle – the main muscle that is used for chewing. In some cases, chronic teeth grinding can result in a fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. The chronic grinding may wear their teeth down to stumps.

Not only can severe grinding damage teeth and result in tooth loss, it can also affect your jaws, result in hearing loss, cause or worsen TMD/TMJ, and even change the appearance of your face.

Grinding builds this muscle and makes it stronger, like lifting weights does for the biceps. The stronger the muscle gets, the more damage clenching causes to the teeth. Headaches and facial pain also tend to get worse with time.

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chances of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors include:

  • Chronic stress or anxiety
  • Aggressive or competitive personality
  • Abuse of drugs or alcohol-especially methamphetamines
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Age: 40 or younger; especially common in women aged 27-40
  • Family member with bruxism
  • Facial or oral trauma
  • Use of psychiatric medications, especially antidepressants such as Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozac
  • Prior serious head injury


Symptoms may include:

  • Grinding sounds during sleep
  • Teeth sensitive to heat, cold, or brushing
  • Tense facial or jaw muscles
  • Hairline crack of the enamel on some teeth
  • Sore teeth
  • Inflammation of the gums ( gingivitis )
  • Headache especially if it is present when waking in the morning
  • Damage to the inside of the cheek (from biting or chewing)
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD)


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history and examine your teeth and jaw. With bruxism, teeth will have flattened tips, excessive wear, or thin enamel.


Methods of treatment include:

Behavioral or Cognitive Treatment

This method focuses on changing behavior through various techniques, such as: . Biofeedback . Stress management Relaxation Therapy or exercise.

BOTOX Injections

People, who suffer from severe Bruxism, find jaw disorders, constant headaches, damaged teeth, and a number of other facial problems, at a higher rate. Thus, going ahead for Botox Bruxism treatment makes perfect sense in this case. The Botox treatment for Bruxism is extremely painless and can be done in as less as fifteen minutes. The effects of Botox treatment start surfacing themselves only after a day or two and can last up to four months.
Bruxism treatment has proved to be a better technique that work wonders for a person who has been suffering from the problem of chronic teeth clenching and grinding.

Botox can be used to treat chronic teeth grinding. Not only patients will experience an instant relief from jaw pain, tension and headaches, but they will see a dramatic change in the way that their face looks. The square, severe appearance of their lower face softens into a more normal and esthetically pleasing jaw line.


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