The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are some of the hardest-working joints in your body. Each time you eat, drink, and talk, you are exercising your TMJ. The powerful TMJ attach the jaw to the skull and allow the jaw to open, close, and move from side to side. When these joints become misaligned, patients suffer painful symptoms including face, neck, jaw, head, and shoulder pain; earaches; tingling in their extremities; jaw popping and clicking; and difficulty fully opening and closing their mouth; and chronic headaches.
Typically, dentists treat TMJ disorder by prescribing patients a custom night guard or splint to open a patient’s bite and alleviate discomfort. Wearing a night guard does help, but it takes time. And during this “waiting period” for relief, patients continue to suffer the painful and sometimes debilitating effects of TMJ disorder.
Dr. Lathrop is one of a growing number of dentists who take a more proactive approach to treating TMJ pain. In conjunction with the night guard, Dr. Lathrop may administer injections of Botox in the muscles surrounding the jaw. The injection takes place quickly, with a prick of a sharp needle that delivers the fluid deep into the muscle tissue. The Botox goes to work right away, relaxing the tense muscles that are causing the jaw pain, and resulting in quick relief from pain.
However, before deciding that TMJ disorder treatment is appropriate, Dr. Lathrop will thoroughly analyze your bite and jaw alignment using the advanced Tekscan pressure mapping system. The technology uses comfortable pressure plates that are connected to a computer and can read the specifics of your bite’s pressure displacement. If some teeth meet unevenly, or if your jaw is not aligned properly and shifts when you bite, then the Tekscan readings will accurately pinpoint where the discrepancy is so Dr. Lathrop can custom-design your treatment according to your specific needs for optimal disclusion time reduction (DTR).
Immediately after Dr. Lathrop injects the Botox into your jaw muscle, the tenderness and pain associated with your TMJ disorder will start to diminish gradually yet quickly — in minutes. Those headaches, sore muscles, and difficulties moving your jaw will soon be a distant memory and you will be able to sleep better and eat and speak with a marked decrease in pain.
Botox also may cause side effects, including mild bruising, redness, and soreness around the injection site. If these side effects occur, they usually go away within 24 hours.
Botox is an excellent way to aid TMJ disorder in many patients. If you are plagued by jaw pain, talk to Dr. Lathrop to find out if Botox could be the solution you have been searching for. He will answer any questions you may have.
If you want to put your best face forward to the world, a healthy smile is a big part of achieving that. To truly look your best, your teeth and your smile should harmonize and balance well with all of your facial features. Unfortunately, common issues such as bruxism or TMJ disorder can affect the health and appearance of your smile. With Botox, the Lathrop Dental Center offers a unique treatment for both of these common dental disorders. Whether you need preventive dental care, extensive dental work, or something in between, Lathrop Dental Center creates beautiful smiles by improving your teeth and overall smile health. Schedule an appointment at our Katy office today at 832-914-7663 or visit info@LathropDentalCenter.com.