Temporomandibular Joint Pain (TMJ) pain is caused by tight muscles of the jaw that irritate the facial nerve that passes through those muscles.
Many people grind their teeth at night and this causes inflammation in the muscles of the jaw. Since the facial nerve passes right through this muscle, when the muscle is inflamed and irritated it presses on the facial nerve, causing severe pain.
Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) can be tried to help reduce the inflammation. Aleve and Ibuprofen are over-the-counter (OTC) but in my experience, people do not take these every 8 or 12 hours so the inflammation keeps coming back. Mobic or Meloxicam is a prescription NSAID that lasts in the system a whole day so taking it once a day for a few weeks can help to reduce the inflammation.
Muscle relaxants can be tried to help reduce the spasms in the muscle of this joint that is being used for talking and chewing. Some of these muscle relaxants make people sleepy so work well for people who grind their teeth at night.
Botox is used to relax these muscles allowing the nerve to get some relief. Botox is given in the Masseter and Lateral Pterygoid muscles and this allows the muscles to be more relaxed easing the tension on the facial nerve.
Some people even get their Masseter muscles injected with botox to reduce the appearance of these muscles which can make people look older. Therefore, getting the masseter muscle injected not only reduces TMJ pain but might improve external appearances!
Some insurances will cover Botox injections in the TMJ joint and we have to get prior authorization from the insurance in order to do this.
Make an appointment to be evaluated to see if you are a candidate for this treatment.