For any Texas resident in Frisco, Plano, Richardson, McKinney, Little Elm, and The Colony, you may already have an opinion about Botox. Although Botox sometimes has a bad reputation, doctors use the drug for a number of cosmetic and medical purposes that you may not already be aware of. There are several formulations of products used to treat everything from crow’s feet to migraines. Your doctor may also recommend botulinum toxin for severe cases of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) stiffness.
What Is TMJ?
Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ for short) can cause the following symptoms:
- Tenderness along the jaw
- Pain in either temporomandibular joint
- Pain and aching around the ear
- Difficulty chewing
- Joint locking when opening or closing the mouth
If you have pain or decreased functionality due to TMJ disorders and other methods haven’t provided significant relief, it may be time to consider Botox under the care of a licensed physician.
What Is Botox?
Botulinum toxin (Botox) weakens or paralyzes muscles. When used in small, safe doses it can relax muscles and reduce the appearance of some fine lines and wrinkles. Botox is made from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum (which in high doses can cause food poisoning). However, doctors use small doses for beneficial outcomes that include medical and cosmetic uses.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved Botox to treat some health issues, such as migraines, excessive sweating, eye muscle disorders and TMJ.
Why Use Botox for TMJ?
Stress takes on many forms and affects our bodies in different ways, including TMJ disorders that develop from teeth grinding and jaw clenching (on the rise given the increased stress from COVID and politics in recent years). The temporomandibular joint is a hinge connecting your jaw to your skull. Constantly clenching your jaw can result in disorders such as locking of the hinge and stiffness in the joint. This can cause pain and impact the functionality of the joint and jaw. For those experiencing TMJ-related pain, alternative solutions include Botox injections.
The masseter muscle connects the lower jawbone or mandible to the cheekbone. Those with TMJ disorders often have a bulging masseter. When you develop a TMJ from grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw, this muscle becomes overly developed, often resulting in a square jawline. Many people find it hard to relax this overactive muscle, even though the tension can cause side effects such as headaches, pain and stiffness.
Botox injections can relax the masseter. This can help you reduce grinding and clenching. The formulation of Botox used to relax muscles varies by the specific problem and the preference of your doctor. The FDA approval for botulinum does not specifically list TMJ disorders, but it does include facial muscle relaxation.
Is Botox Treatment for TMJ Expensive?
The main factors regarding the cost of these injections include the amount of toxin needed to relax the muscle and how many injections you receive. Someone person getting 20 units of Botox for each TMJ could spend $12 per unit or $480 for one treatment. However, the amount used, price fluctuations, and number of injections all impact your actual costs.
How Long Do the Effects Last?
When used for TMJ treatment, injections could last between three and four months. Your doctor can provide more specific estimates based on your metabolism and other personal indicators. Some people require more units of Botox and others experience the numbing effects for much longer than others.
Having the injections administered by a maxillofacial surgeon may increase the efficacy of Botox. NexGen Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have a deep understanding of the functionality and structures of the face and neck, including the temporomandibular joints and jaw areas.
TMJ disorders have a number of different causes that may include arthritis, injury, tension, teeth grinding and other conditions and diseases. The doctor may suggest other methods to treat tension in the jawline prior to recommending Botox. Typically, Botox injections would be considered a last resort for chronic cases of TMJ pain that last longer than three to four months. For example, muscle relaxants, mouth guards and lifestyle changes can sometimes alleviate your pain and discomfort.
Does Insurance Cover Botox?
Botox is most often used for cosmetic purposes. In those cases, many insurance policies would not cover the procedures. Because the FDA doesn’t specifically list TMJ treatment and its approved uses of Botox, your insurance may not cover it. However, TMJ problems also contribute to migraines and other FDA-approved disorders. If this applies to you, your insurance may pay for the injections.
Check with your individual insurance carrier to find out how much of the treatment might be eligible for coverage. Remember to ask your insurance company whether your policy covers this treatment under therapeutic procedures.
If you suffer from TMJ or conditions that may benefit from Botox injections, feel free to call our office for more information on whether this treatment can help you. At first, some clients resist the idea of injecting a known toxin into their bodies. Let us help you understand the various risks and benefits so you can make an informed decision. Your safety, comfort and confidence all mean a lot to us. So, don’t hesitate to bring all your questions with you.
If you live in Frisco, Plano, Richardson, McKinney, Little Elm, or The Colony and you have questions about whether Botox may be right for you, NexGen Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons is here to help. No matter what your oral surgery needs may be, our caring, patient-focused staff is ready to help you on your journey to wellness, one appointment at a time. We’ll work with your dentist to understand your case and address any and all concerns you have – our ultimate goal is your comfort, and we mean that in every sense of the word. Contact us today at our Frisco, Texas office to make your oral surgery consultation appointment – we’re looking forward to meeting you!