You can get Botox at a med spa or dermatology practice, but what about a dentist’s office? While the injectable is popular for erasing forehead furrows, it can also help eliminate jaw pain. Learn more with Jeffrey Nguyen, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon at Irvine Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center.
How is Botox used in dentistry?
It’s an off-label use for temporomandibular (TMJ) disorders. It’s very effective for relieving mild facial pain or clenching and grinding. When it comes to TMJ disorders, there is conservative therapy, such as mouth guards, and joint replacement surgery, with a variety of minimally invasive treatments in between. Botox is minimally invasive. Some people use muscle relaxants for weeks at a time, but they don’t have a localized effect like Botox does.
How does it work?
It’s the same thing as using Botox for wrinkles in the face. Dynamic wrinkles are caused by the facial muscles creating folds in the skin, and Botox has a paralytic effect to decrease wrinkles. It has the same effect on the joints in the lower part of the face. This can help improve joint condition and reduce grinding, pressure, and inflammation in the joints.
What’s a typical session?
About 25 units of Botox are injected into each cheek muscle. It reaches peak effectiveness in about two weeks, and the procedure is repeated every four to eight months. It’s a quick 10- to 15-minute procedure.