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TMD/TMJ & Bruxism

Temporomandibular disorders, or TMD/TMJ, refer to a set of medical conditions that involve the jaw joints, the muscles that render jaw movement, and the dental occlusion. They are often collectively called TMJ by doctors and insurance companies: though TMJ refers only to the jaw joints. TMJ physical disorders are caused due to an imbalance in the fragile relationship of the skull and jaw with the muscles that move the jaw and also the nervous system associated with these systems.

An imbalance can result in spasm, joint dysfunction, muscle fatigue, and also changes in teeth, which can trigger different symptoms, varied for each patient.

Watch Out For The Following Symptoms of TMD: 

  • Tenderness or pain in jaw joint, face, shoulders, neck, or around the ear while opening the mouth wide, speaking or chewing
  • Reduced ability to open the mouth widely
  • Jaws that lock or stick in the closed or open mouth position.
  • Popping, grating, or clicking sounds in the jaw joint upon closing or opening the mouth (sometimes accompanied by pain)
  • The face feels tired
  • Chewing becomes difficult, as if lower and upper teeth are not closing together properly
  • The side of the face has a swelling
  • Headache is a common symptom of TMJ. Typically, a TMJ headache is present at the back of the head, temples, or the shoulders. The headache pain may be caused due to the grinding and clenching of the teeth–both possibly TMJ symptoms–which trigger muscle pain. Moreover, a displaced disc in the TMJ can lead to pain in the joint, and the pain is felt in the neck, forehead, or the temples. Such headaches, often severe, are mistaken for abnormalities in the brain or as migraine headaches, and therefore run the risk of being misdiagnosed.

How Does BOTOX® Resolve TMJ Disorder and Treat Jaw Tension?

BOTOX® resolves jaw tension by disabling the muscles in the strong and often unconscious movement of the jaw: an action that causes pain and headaches. As an alternative treatment for jaw tension and TMJ disorders, BOTOX® is effective, straightforward, and quick. It is non-surgical, and the BOTOX® injections are given in a doctor’s office with no requirement for a hospital stay. Patients often feel improvement within a day or two of the first treatment. However, relief from symptoms can take up to a week.

Who Can Receive the BOTOX® Alternative Jaw Treatment?

BOTOX® is considered to be a safe alternative to conventional treatment for most patients experiencing jaw tension or having a TMJ disorder. However, it is vital for BOTOX® providers to diagnose patients properly to find out if they are eligible for the treatment.

During the first consultation, your dentist or doctor should review your medical history before starting the treatment. Patients should reveal facts such as the use of medications, drugs, or other substances that could have an adverse reaction with BOTOX®. Patients must also report any allergies to avoid a possible bad reaction to BOTOX® treatment. However, patients having TMJ disorders or jaw tension, unable to have BOTOX® injections, are likely to be recommended a more traditional treatment routine.

Risks and Benefits of BOTOX® Treatment for Jaw Tension

BOTOX® injections can often provide significant relief to patients experiencing pain and soreness due to a malfunctioning temporo-mandibular joint. The treatment reduces the ability of facial muscles to participate in problematic grinding and allows them to carry out daily activities such as chewing, talking, and swallowing—making the BOTOX® alternative treatment for jaw tension an effective and convenient choice for many patients. Moreover, the treatment can protect dental health, which can get affected due to excessive grinding resulting in damaged gums and worn teeth: both of which require costly treatment.

BOTOX® treatment for TMJ disorders is considered safe. However, certain intoxicants, medications, and substances can either reduce or adversely affect the effectiveness of BOTOX® injections. For the procedure to be a success, patients should disclose information about substance or medication they are taking before the commencement of the treatment.

In a few cases, patients have experienced excessive paralysis of the muscles in the areas of the treatment and sometimes bleeding and bruising at injection sites. Given the complications involved in the treatment, ensure that your doctor discusses all the risks before treatment.

What Are The Other Alternative Medical Procedures For TMJ?

If a patient is initially given an appropriate diagnosis and treatment, alternative medical treatment for TMJ may not be advised. Alternative treatments include ultrasound, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), radio wave therapy, and trigger-point injections. Radio wave therapy and TENS send low-level radio or electrical waves of energy to the afflicted area to trigger blood flow to the joint and nearby area.

Surgical Treatment for TMJ

Surgery is usually a last-resort treatment after your health practitioner has tried other treatment options. Once undertaken, all TMJ-related surgery is carried out under general anesthesia. Your oral surgeon could perform the minor procedure called arthrocentesis in which the surgeon cleans the joint by putting needles into the joint area and inserting sterile fluid. Sometimes, the surgeon can insert a scalpel-like tool inside the joint to get rid of any tissue adhesions and realign the disc in the joint hinge.

Arthroscopy is another type of surgery that may be performed. During the surgery, the surgeon makes a cut at the temple point in front of the ear to insert an endoscope into the surrounding area. The endoscope offers a visual guide so that the surgeon can remove possible adhesions, reposition the disc, or treat inflammation.

An open joint surgery often becomes an option in complicated cases. It’s the only procedure that offers access to the deteriorating bony structures, severe chipped or scarred bone areas, and tumors. Your surgeon, depending on the nature of the problem, may utilize a scalpel to re-sculpt or remove the affected area.

What Is Bruxism or Teeth Grinding?

Bruxism or teeth grinding is a medical condition experienced by a significant percentage of Americans and can result or be aggravated due to stress. As such, clenching or grinding of teeth occasionally is normal and is called bruxism and does not cause harm. However, when teeth grinding takes place frequently, it can result in damage to the teeth and lead to further complications. People come to know they are grinding their teeth at night only when they wake up doing it.

Bruxism and TMD can cause facial pain, headaches, chipped teeth, earaches, and chewed tissue on the inside of the mouth. Repeated grinding will frequently lead to a hypertrophied masseter muscle: a major muscle used for chewing. Like weightlifting helps build biceps, the action of grinding builds the hypertrophied masseter muscle. However, teeth clenching with stronger muscles can cause more damage to the teeth.

Chronic teeth grinding, in some case, can cause in loss, loosening, or fracturing of teeth. Constant grinding could wear teeth down to stumps. Severe grinding damage can not only result in tooth loss but can also cause hearing loss, affect your jaws, change the appearance of your face, and worsen or cause TMD/TMJ. Moreover, facial pain and headaches may worsen with time due to bruxism.

Risk Factors Associated With TMJ

The risk of developing temporomandibular disorders increase due to the following factors:

  • Chronic anxiety or stress
  • Competitive or aggressive personality
  • Abuse of alcohol or drugs especially methamphetamines
  • PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Patient is 40 or younger and woman aged 27-40
  • Family member has bruxism
  • Oral or facial trauma
  • Usage of psychiatric medications, particularly antidepressants including Paxil, Zoloft, and Prozac
  • Record of serious injury to the head

What Are The Symptoms of TMJ?

The symptoms include:

  • Sound of grinding during sleep
  • Teeth sensitive to cold, brushing, or cold
  • Tense jaw or facial muscles
  • Enamel on some teeth have a hairline crack
  • Sore teeth
  • Gingivitis or inflammation in the gums
  • Headache, often after waking up in the morning
  • Damaged inside cheek due to chewing or biting
  • TMD or Temporomandibular joint disorder

How Is TMJ Disorder Diagnosed?

Your doctor will investigate your symptoms, review medical history, and carry out an examination of your jaw and teeth. In case there is bruxism, your teeth are likely to have flattened tips, thin enamel, and will appear excessively worn out.

How Are Temporomandibular Disorders Treated?

A variety of treatment methods may be used to treat the condition; they include:

Cognitive or Behavioral Treatment

Your health practitioner may focus on behavior-changing methods through techniques such as relaxation therapy, stress management, biofeedback, or planned exercises.

Use Of BOTOX Injections

In patients with diagnosed severe Bruxism, there is a higher incidence of jaw disorders, damaged teeth, constant headaches, and other facial problems. Botox® Bruxism treatment suits such patients perfectly. The Botox® treatment for Bruxism does not cause pain, and the procedure usually takes less as fifteen minutes.

Botox® treatment begins to show its complete results a day or two after the procedure, and they last up to four months. However, patients tend to experience instant relief from headaches, jaw pain, and tension. They also witness a dramatic change in their appearance as the severe, square appearance of their lower face softens into a more asthetically pleasing and normal jawline.

Botox® treatment for Bruxism is a proven technique, and significantly improves the life of the person suffering from the problem of chronic teeth grinding and clenching.

If you want to know how to get treatment for TMJ/TMD and Bruxism, give Dr. Amy Khajavi a call at (858) 683-4862 in her dental practice, Full Mouth Reconstruction Center in San Diego, Dr. Khajavi, who has over 20 years of dental experience, she has treated hundreds of patients with TMJ and bruxism. Dr. Khajavi is a highly-trained in craniomandibular orthopedics of the jaw. She is a specialist in full mouth rehabilitation: a dental field in which she has attained professional awards and recognition. The Full Mouth Reconstruction Center also offers dental services, including dental surgery, dental implants, orthodontics, aesthetic dentistry, and oral surgery.




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