What is TMJ and How Can Botox Help?
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TJD) is the medical term used for bruxism or teeth grinding. The symptoms of teeth grinding or teeth clenching arise from how we handle feelings of stress in our everyday lives. Individuals who clench or grind their teeth during the day often do not notice that they are doing it. The habit is even more uncontrollable at night while sufferers are asleep.
Bruxism in Los Angeles
Bruxism tends to run in families and is a very debilitating condition. The constant clenching and grinding wears down teeth and can cause them to chip or break. When individuals clench or grind their teeth, they are flexing and contracting their masseter muscle, which is the main muscle used for chewing. The over-contractions of the masseter muscle causes headaches, earaches, facial pain, and muscle growth. Sufferers of bruxism often notice that their jaws appear squarer and larger than before they started clenching or grinding. So how can Botox help treat TMJ, especially here in Los Angeles?
Traditional TMD & Bruxism Treatment
Traditional treatments of bruxism include wearing a bite block or mouth guard at night to stop the teeth from contacting each other. However, many people find the bite blocks uncomfortable and end up spitting it out in their sleep. For those who manage to keep it in, they still awaken with jaw soreness. This is because the bite block cannot prevent the clenching and grinding motion. It only acts as a barrier between your top and bottom rows of teeth. As such, people who invest in bite blocks often have to replace them every few months after they wear down the material from grinding. In addition, bite blocks can only be worn at night. Daytime use would not be plausible or comfortable.
Bruxism can also occur as a result of an unaligned bite. In these instances, jaw surgery is an option. However, jaw surgery is invasive and requires the realigning of the jaw and a long recovery process. Unless the misalignment and resultant bruxism is extremely severe, surgery is not an ideal treatment option.
Am I a Good Candidate for Botox for TMJ in Los Angeles?
At Westside Aesthetics, Dr. Alexander Rivkin was one of the doctors who pioneered a revolutionary treatment for bruxism. Dr. Rivkin has been successfully using Botox injections to calm the muscles and treat bruxism for over seven years. He has treated more than four thousand teeth grinding patients. In the treatment of bruxism, Botox is injected into the masseter muscle to partially weaken it. Chewing and smiling are not affected. The treatment alleviates the tension and stress on the muscle, thereby reducing pain. Over time, if the muscle stays weak, it shrinks in size and makes the jaw look less prominent. Patients notice that as their jaw shrinks, they look younger because an oval shape to the face looks younger and softer than the square, angular shape conferred by a large masseters muscle.
The Botox for TMJ Procedure
During the procedure, Dr. Rivkin will place some ice along each side of your jaw to numb it, and proceed to administer the Botox injections into the masseter muscle. The procedure only takes about five minutes for each side. Most patients notice a reduction in muscle soreness the very next day. Treatments are progressive and typically last about three months. Keeping the muscle weak for a prolonged period of time makes it likely that patients will break the habit of grinding when they are stressed. Some patients only require a couple of treatments to completely break the cycle of bruxism and not need Botox treatments again. Other patients need more treatments to break the cycle.
During an initial complimentary consultation, Dr. Rivkin will evaluate your individual needs and provide you with treatment options. Each individual case is unique and requires a customized dosage of Botox. Dr. Rivkin is experienced in determining the proper dosage necessary for each individual patient. To find out if Botox injections are the best treatment option for teeth grinding, call Westside Aesthetics at 310-443-5273 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Rivkin at his Los Angeles office. You do not have to suffer from bruxism any longer.