Botox injections are a well-known solution for cosmetic needs, but can also be an option for the treatment of certain orofacial conditions.
WHAT IS BOTOX?
Botox is one of the botulinum toxin drugs derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This bacterium may sound familiar since it is the same one that causes botulism, a rare but dangerous foodborne illness. The active, therapeutic neurotoxin is harvested, separated and purified in a lab to make it safe and effective for treatment.
HOW DOES BOTOX WORK?
Within a few hours of Botox being injected into a muscle, it attaches to the endings of the nerves that control the muscle. Over the next several days, the toxin works to block the transmission of nerve signals that cause muscle contractions. Botox continues to block the nerve signals for three to four months. As the Botox wears off, the patient's signs and symptoms will return. Another dose can be administered, if desired.
Individuals suffering from Bruxism -grinding and/ or clenching of the teeth- not only experience wear and breakage of the teeth and general tooth sensitivity, but often discomfort or pain of the face and jaw muscles. Bruxism can now be easily minimized with Botox treatments, which reduce the force of the muscular contractions involved. Botox injections are a useful adjuct therapy to night guard appliances (also known as occlusal guards).
TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DISORDER (TMJ)
Patients dealing the Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD/TMJ) can benefit from Botox injections as well. TMJ disorders can cause severe pain from hyperactivity of the jaw muscles that leads to difficulty opening or closing the mouth. In the past, treatment options have been limited. Now, Botox can be used to simply relax these muscles, offering quick and efficient pain relief.