Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) account for more than 30 disorders that can cause pain and dysfunction in the joint and the muscles that help with jaw movement. Just as there are many different disorders, there are also various treatment options for TMD. One is Botox. Let’s take a closer look at Botox for treatment of TMD pain and discomfort.

What are the categories and symptoms?

To begin, it is important to note that there are three main categories to TMD. Those include:

  • Disorders of the joints, including disk disorders.
  • Disorders of the muscles used in chewing.
  • Headaches associated with TMD.

Now for symptoms. With our patients, the symptoms of TMD will vary, which can add to the difficulty of diagnosis and treatment planning. Some symptoms include:

  • Pain in the jaw or the muscles used for chewing.
  • Pain that spreads to the face or neck.
  • Jaw stiffness.
  • Locking the jaw or impaired movement.
  • Painful clicking or popping in the jaw when opening or closing your mouth. 
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Dizziness.
  • Hearing loss. 
  • Change in the alignment of their teeth.

Genetics, life events, emotional stressors and pain all play a role in TMD, so pay attention and dive deeper into what your patients are saying.

What are the benefits and risks of Botox?

By using Botox for TMD pain and discomfort, it can help to temporarily reduce jaw tension and can ease pain or other symptoms of TMD. Botox can also improve jaw movement and the ability to chew. But it is important to let your patients know that Botox is not a cure for TMD. This will need to be an ongoing procedure they receive.

It’s important to note that Botox for TMD is not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). With that, it is considered an alternative treatment. Since Botox is administered by injection, side effects around the injection site may include:

  • Redness.
  • Some swelling. 
  • Discomfort at the injection site.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Some bruising around the injection site.

Botox is not for every patient, so it is important to better understand this treatment option and how to administer before recommendation.